Universal Language Selector/Design/Interlanguage links
With the current list of interlanguage links, users have to process a long list of languages looking for their languages of interest time after time. We can make the language list shorter by including only the languages which are relevant to the user.
As multilingual content grows, interlanguage links become longer on Wikipedia articles. Articles such as "Barak Obama" or "Sun" have more than 200 links, and that becomes a problem for users that often switch among several languages. The Universal Language Selector can be used in this context to:
- Show only a short list of the relevant languages for the user based on geo-IP, previous choices and browser settings of the current user. The language the users are looking for will be there most of the times.
- Include a "more" option to access the rest of the languages for which the content exists with an indicator of the number of languages.
- Provide a list of the rest of the languages that users can easily scan (grouped by script and region so that alphabetical ordering is possible), and search (allowing users to search a language name in another language, using ISO codes or even making typos).
Since interlanguage links are a critical element, and it is hard to anticipate the effects on all kinds of articles, this has been proposed as a beta feature so that users can provide feedback based on actual use on their context. Feel free to volunteer for developing this feature or provide feedback.
Prototype and usability testing[edit | edit source]
Feedback[edit | edit source]
The idea was shared on the design mailing list. These are the suggestions and concerns from our community:
About the need for the feature[edit | edit source]
- Seems there is a need for this, illustrated by:
- There is a user script that does a primitive version of this.
- There is also an Opera extension.
- Each wiki site has different ordering requirements - like Hebrew and Hungarian wikis want English as the first link, or 'nn' uses 'no','sv','da' before all others.
- Kazakh wiki shows interlanguage links for English and Russian in bold (example).
Suggestions for improvement[edit | edit source]
- Take into account the article size/quality. A featured/good article should be more biased to appear on the sidebar and/or the top of the list.
- Consider accessibility issues.
- In the worst case, if the solution is JS-only, a user with JS disabled will be in the current situation (full list of links).
- The list of languages shown by default should probably be more "generous" than with the ULS standard:
- All the (main) languages of the same *family* should be shown in it.
- Include minor languages from the user region (GeoIP), and minor languages associated to another major language related to the user (e.g., include Breton if we know French has been previously selected or is in the Browser configuration) .
- Make it work across devices. When we learn that a user prefers a language, this should be taken into account for all devices.
- The "No results found" message can distinguish better between not fond and not available. It is not clear whether the system is unable to understand which language I'm looking for (e.g., if I type "Englissssh", or the content is not available in such language). When the user searches for a valid language (e.g., "Spanish") but the content is not available in that language, we should probably indicate that "Content is not available in Spanish", and use "Language not found" to indicate that the language the user is typing does not exist.
- Adapt the "more" list to accomodate a reduced number of languages. Use a different layout when there are a reduced number of elements (e.g., use 2 columns instead of 4 for displaying languages when the "more list contains less than 20 languages).
Concerns[edit | edit source]
- Advertising the many languages of Wikipedia is a strongly-held value of many Wikimedians.
- Options suggested: emphasise by ordering instead of hiding the rest, or do it just for logged-in users, or make the number of remaining languages ("… 277 more languages") more visible rather than rely on visual length.
- The use of Geo-IP may be interpreted as trying to enforce certain languages in certain geographic areas, which would be contrary to the mission of the Wikimedia Foundation.
- This may tend to reinforce the dominance of major languages on the net.
- Clutter can be an effective way to hide or obstruct the access to information. If suggestions include minnor languages, this can bring more visibility to them than the usual list.
- GeoIP solution rely on good information.
- GeoIP is not perfect, but that is not used as the main information source just as a fallback for more reliable sources such as previous selections or browser language.
Issues found[edit | edit source]
- The beta feature label and description are being translated, but beta had an issue with mw-update-l10n.
Technical information[edit | edit source]
- Universal Language Selector. Extension that provides already most of the needed pieces (language selection list, cross-language search, and identification of likely languages).
- Compact interlanguage links as a beta feature (and Compact interlanguage links as a beta feature/Project progress report)