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Structured Data Across Wikimedia/Search Improvements

From mediawiki.org

The Search Improvements project will use structured content to give users a more inviting and more efficient way to search and find content on the Wikipedias. By improving Special:Search, we want to enable users to find the information they are looking for, or that they may not have noticed, or previously come across through existing search.

We aim to identify and define incremental “special search” improvements that use structured content, to assist users in finding the content they are looking for, especially in those language wikis that have fewer articles.



Existing search functionalities mainly focus on article matches. This is a problem for Wikipedias in emerging languages, because there is a higher risk for readers to end up on the Special:Search page without finding relevant articles or content. Linguistic factors and inexperience in using Special:Search are also among the main obstacles in finding content.

Moreover, it is likely that the information that the user is seeking might be “hidden” somewhere on the projects – i.e., under sections of existing articles, or inside articles with a different name, or in sister projects and other sources in our ecosystem.

The project


What we want to do


Work in this area will include things like:

  • Stylistic UI improvements to the Special:Search page
  • Creating a quick view panel for each result that:
    • shows key information about the result
    • displays interwiki links related to the result

Search Preview panel


One of the proposed changes that we want to introduce is a Search Preview panel for each result, to discover relevant content and go directly to a desired section of the article. The following mockups illustrate how this panel would work.

The changes will be initially rolled in early 2023 on three partner Wikipedias - Portuguese, Russian and Indonesian Wikipedia - for a first evaluation period.


Improving search experience through a tool/gadget


Additionally, we are working with interested contractors to ideate and develop a tool or gadget that experiments with using structured data/content to improve the search experience on one or more Wikipedias.

The first tool that has been ideated is “View it!”, and is developed by Dominic Byrd-McDevitt (User:Dominic), Kevin Payravi (User:SuperHamster), and Jamie Flood (User:JamieF). The tool will enrich Wikipedia content by offering an illustration of a given subject. This tool will increase the discovery of Wikimedia Commons uploads and encourage contributors to utilize Commons and structured data. While the number of images displayed in a Wikipedia article is finite and highly curated by editors, this tool will allow readers to access the full catalog of images available on Wikimedia Commons, and help editors easily add relevant items to a given article.



Project feedback is and will always be welcome. We are especially interested in your ideas, and we are looking forward to hearing from you on the talk page about what you think about the project, and especially about the following open questions:

  1. What do you think about the approaches outlined above?
  2. Do any of these changes affect the contribution flow in your opinion? If yes, how?
  3. Are the images, sections, and other content in search preview helpful to you? If so, how would you use it?
  4. Is there anything else you would like to see added or removed from the search preview or desktop or mobile?
  5. What do you think about the interaction of viewing the search preview on mobile?

Previous work


Round 1 mockups


The following are the mockups of our first round of suggested improvements to Special:Search, which have been discussed in a multi-project request for comment with the Wikimedia community from June 27 to July 10, 2022. After the consultation, some of the improvements have been approved and are being currently implemented, while others have been put on hold, pending further investigation.