Beta Features/Hovercards

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The Hovercards beta feature solves the core problem of users opening multiple tabs to gain an understanding of a word in the context of the subject they are reading. Whenever a reader hovers over a link to another article, a short summary of the subject, including its graphical image, is provided to them so they can decide whether they need to visit that subject more fully before continuing the current subject.

Multiple Chrome extensions (see list) and one heavily used gadget (Navigation popups) also exist to solve this problem – The Hovercards settings panel enables logged-out users to disable it entirely, and enables logged-in users to choose between Hovercards, Navigation popups, or disabling both.


§Intended users

Our primary users are the casual drive-by reader who browses around Wikipedia without any particular goal, simply enjoying reading the articles.

Hovercards will be of use to any user of Wikipedia who browses around the site frequently.

§Product objective

Our product will make it easier to get an overview of an article before you decide whether or not to browse to it. Consequently, the smoothness of the user experience for these users will be increased.

§Key changes

Restyling it to enable easy reading. Currently the type size is small and the margins are tight.

  • Create a consistent visual style with the article type treatment.
  • Emphasize the lead images, so a user gets an idea of a term using both text and image.
  • The action set in the gadget feels out of context, hence we need to validate which of those actions are useful for readers and editors.
  • Include the last edited timestamp that we have tested on wikipedia mobile web, but de-emphasize it.


  • Article titles
  • References
  • Wiktionary
  • User names


§Current design

§Previous iteration designs


If you turn Hovercards off, you can turn it back on at the bottom of any wikipage, with the "Enable previews" link.
Hovercard Settings Dialogue

For instructions on how to change the popup timing (open/close delay) see Extension:Popups#Show/hide timing.

§Next set of designs

§Open questions

  • Should there be any actions in the popups?
    • If so, what?
  • Ideal timings for show and hide?
    • How precise do we need to be about these timings?
  • What if any animation/effects are used during transitions?
  • How does this integrate (or not) with the existing navigation popups and reference tooltips?

§Analytics and instrumentation

  • Number of displays of the popup
  • Links followed while popup is displayed vs after popup dismissal
  • Links followed within popups


The code lives in a git repo here and on gerrit too. See the Popups "dashboard" in Gerrit for patches in development.

Bugs: list open, list all, or Enter a new task

Trello: hovercards-phase-3


A more detailed Spec can be found here.


§See also

§Similar extensions

Extensions that show mouseover popups within Wikipedia:

Navigation popups


Extensions that enable showing Wikipedia/Wiktionary content from any external site: