Extension:GuidedTour

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GuidedTour

Release status: beta

Implementation Special page, Page action
Description Provide popup guided tour on wiki pages, and/or microsurveys.
Author(s) Luke Welling, Matt Flaschen, Terry Chay
Latest version 1.0
MediaWiki 1.21+
PHP 5.3+
Database changes no
License Apache License v2.0
Download
Hooks used
BeforePageDisplay

MakeGlobalVariablesScript
ResourceLoaderTestModules

Translate the GuidedTour extension if possible

Check usage and version matrix; code metrics
Bugs: list open list all report

GuidedTour is a MediaWiki extension which provides a framework for creating "guided tours", or interactive tutorials for MediaWiki features. Tours typically walk a user through some standard workflow (like editing an article or uploading an image) and are implemented as a series of dialog boxes that tell the user where to click and what to do next.

Tours are backed by JavaScript and PHP code that can monitor the user's progress, check his or her understanding, and offer advice and encouragement. Guided tours are an effective means for breaking down complex tasks into a series of simple, discrete sub-tasks, and for giving the user the experience and confidence needed to repeat the workflow for similar tasks in the future. Tours may also be used to implement interactive surveys.

GuidedTour is developed by the Growth team. It is partly based on Optimize.ly's Guiders library. GuidedTour originally started at WMF Tech Days 2012.

Rationale[edit | edit source]

Our communities were once limited to using static wiki pages, templates, and other functions to build tutorials and tours of any kind. As rich as tools like Wikipedia:Tutorial might be, they interrupt the user and force them to go to a separate Web page. They are also quite long; most documentation about Wikipedia would take quite some time to read in full.

User experience[edit | edit source]

Test tour, step one. An example of a typical tour start, with a central overlay guider
Test tour, step two. An example of calling out a page element, with a guider attached to the "right" at the #n-portal id.

Interactive guided tours provide a simple, step-by-step guide through a feature set without interrupting the user. Guided tours don't dominate the screen, are dismissable, and walk the user through a task directly. Guided tours are also ideally something that one can return to at any time when you need it.

Each step in a guided tour is called a "guider".

Description of guider elements[edit | edit source]

Title
Names the current step. If the title is the beginning of the tour, you may need to use it to describe the tour as a whole. If your tour title is more than one line, it's too long.
Body text
Describes the current step. If you make additional points unnecessary for the user to understand how to move to the next step, you're saying too much. Guided tours are effective not just because tooltips point at things, but because they limit instructional text to what is immediately necessary, rather than trying to dump paragraphs of documentation on a user all at once.
Buttons
tour buttons are for actions, typically progressing the user to the next step. It is a poor practice to provide multiple action buttons, e.g. "Start tour" plus "Next". Choose one action you want the user to take in response to a tour step, focus on completion of that action. Never use the action button for ending the tour (unless the user is actually at the end), since this muddles whether the primary action buttons is for continuing the tour or ending it (positive vs. negative action). If your guider step points to an additional action you want the user to take (e.g. "Edit" or "View history), it is a bad idea to have the tour button perform this action for them. Instead, point to the element you wish a user to use, and encourage them to give it a try, so they learn how to use a function as they normally would.
Close button (X)
provides an obvious element for dismissing a tour, as opposed to simply closing a single guider, which can be done by an outside click or hitting ESC. If the user clicks this close button, it should end the tour across pages, and will clear the associated tour from the user's cookies.
Location
Guiders can be positioned as either a "central overlay" or an "attachment". "Attachments" are positioned next to specific page elements (for example, a link or tab) using CSS selectors. The position of the guider relevant to the page element is specified with orientations such as topLeft, top, topRight, rightTop, right, etc. (See details)

Description of guider behavior[edit | edit source]

Keep in mind the following default behaviors for guided tours.

  • If a user has launched multiple tours, the most recent tour started will always be displayed, if there is a conflict.
  • You can force a tour to "stick" to a particular page. If you have not defined this behavior in your tour, a tour in progress might keep showing across pages. For instance, if you have a tour that points to the "Save" button, a tour that is in progress might point at this element every time until the user moves to the next step or dismisses the tour.
  • The page will scroll vertically to a guider's position, if it is out of view (i.e. above or below the fold). You can disable this for individual steps.
  • A guider will flip horizontally to the left or right, if it would otherwise be cut off by the width of the user's browser. You can also disable this for each step.

Designing a tour[edit | edit source]

If you want to make your own guided your, here are some maxims to consider.

  1. Choose a primary goal for the tour. What do you want users to learn by the end?
  2. Know who your audience is before you start, and what their goals and experiences are. What knowledge about a process do they have before starting your tour?
  3. Plot the necessary steps, focusing on the one action or key takeaway for each step. Less is more. The more steps in your tour, the more likely a user is to abandon your tour in the middle.
  4. Tours can be started via a link or button within a page, or automatically via a cookie. How you start a tour has a big impact on the potential for delivering tours that interrupt or annoy users, so choose carefully.
  5. Let the steps and their associated actions guide the design of the tour. For example, if you want users to edit as one step, pointing directly to the edit button is the obvious and efficient thing to do. A poor alternative would be to have a center-aligned window with an image and description of the edit tab. The strength of tooltip-based tours is that you can show users what to do, instead of simply describing it.
  6. Choose titles, body text, and images only after you have plotted all steps in your tour.

List of tours[edit | edit source]

GuidedTour[edit | edit source]

The following tours are currently packaged with the extension, and are thus available on any wiki where GuidedTour is installed.

Other extensions[edit | edit source]

On-wiki[edit | edit source]

Feel free to add your own tours to the appropriate list above.

Tour ideas[edit | edit source]

Potential tours include nearly all tasks currently covered by help documentation in Wikimedia projects. We're starting with Wikipedia, and with tasks that are most common or attractive to new registered editors, since they are a group most likely to need a guided tour of an interface or activity.

  • Page creation
  • 'Your user page' - what it's for, etc.
  • How to add/edit a reference
  • How to add an image
  • Watchlist - what are the important elements of it, how to add stuff to it, etc.
  • Process helpers: how to request a move, how to file a deletion request, etc.

Please add to the list!

Technical documentation[edit | edit source]

Building and launching tours[edit | edit source]

You launch a guided tour on a page by adding tour=tourname to the query string of a URL linking to it, or by calling mw.guidedTour.setTourCookie( tourName ) to set a cookie for the next page load. You can set the cookie from the server if appropriate too. This will cause the GuidedTour extension to load both the code to display the tour and the tour itself.

You define your tour in a JavaScript file in your extension, or in the MediaWiki namespace (MediaWiki:Guidedtour-tour-tourname.js). Much of this file simply names the elements of each step of the tour — a titlemsg, descriptionmsg, a 'next' button, etc. Individual wikis can override the CSS at MediaWiki:Guidedtour-custom.css.

Installation[edit | edit source]

  • Download and install EventLogging.
  • Download and extract the files in a directory called GuidedTour in your extensions/ folder. If you're a developer and this extension is in a Git repository, then instead you should clone the repository.
  • Add the following code at the bottom of your LocalSettings.php:
require_once( "$IP/extensions/GuidedTour/GuidedTour.php" );

Test that it worked by calling a page with tour=test appended to the URL. For example: http://localhost/w/index.php?tour=test

  • Done! Navigate to "Special:Version" on your wiki to verify that the extension is successfully installed.

Usage[edit | edit source]

  1. Write a real tour on a page in the MediaWiki namespage. It must be named MediaWiki:GuidedTour-tour-tour name.js, for example MediaWiki:GuidedTour-tour-mytour.js
  2. Call your intended page with tour=mytour appended to the URL. For example:
    http://localhost/w/index.php?tour=mytour , or ?tour=test for the example above.
  3. To style the output, either edit the css file in the modules directory or provide a file of overrides on the wiki page MediaWiki:GuidedTour/custom.css

Note: for security reasons, tours cannot run on some pages, including login, account creation, user preferences, and password reset.

Subpages[edit | edit source]

GuidedTour/API brainstorming GuidedTour/Magnification GuidedTour/Microsurveys
GuidedTour/Refactoring brainstorming GuidedTour/Refactoring brainstorming/Use case: Article Creation Help GuidedTour/Refactoring notes 2014-02-11
GuidedTour/Refactoring notes 2014-03-07 GuidedTour/Shared tour instructions GuidedTour/Shared tour instructions/doc
GuidedTour/User testing GuidedTour/VisualEditor
GuidedTour/Write an extension tour GuidedTour/Write an on-wiki tour GuidedTour/archive//tours/guidedtour/intro
GuidedTour/archive/Make your user experience easy to learn: a guided tour GuidedTour/archive/tours/guidedtour/mypreferences GuidedTour/archive/tours/guidedtour/starttour
GuidedTour/archive/tours/test/sample GuidedTour/status

Status[edit | edit source]

(Regular status updates)

  • 2014-02-12:
    Matt Flaschen and Sam Smith met on GuidedTour refactoring, and decided next on steps, including testing out the proposed domain-specific language, reviewing existing tours, and refactoring the user state code.