Talk:Cross-wiki Search Result Improvements/Design

About this board

Please share your thoughts and ideas about Cross-wiki Search Result Improvements Design!

You can provide feedback in any language.

TJones (WMF) (talkcontribs)

Has anyone suggested moving the icon in the sidebar results from below the snippet near the "more from..." up to the left of the title? I find myself looking down to the icon to get the source so I know how to interpret the results. Also, it would make the cross-wiki results more distinct from the on-wiki results.

DTankersley (WMF) (talkcontribs)

We can certainly take a look at that too, thanks for the suggestion! :)

JDrewniak (WMF) (talkcontribs)

@TJones (WMF) This icon treatment has been considered (but there are arguments both ways). Semantically, there are two approaches to reading the cross-wiki results.

  1. This is a search result, and it's from project X.
  2. This is project X, and this is a search result from it.

Treatment 1 puts the focus on the content and 2 puts the focus on the project.

The scenario we have in mind when making this choice is that many people might not know about the sister projects, and these results are supposed to help discover them. Option 2 might help discovery by prominently declaring "this is a different project", but if someone doesn't know what that project is, the label probably isn't that helpful, and people usually don't click on things they don't understand. Option 1 intentionally makes cross-wiki results seems more like "regular" results, in order to lead people to evaluate them based on their content rather than the project they're from. The issue with this approach is that someone might misinterpret the result as coming from wikipedia, and then they'll be confused as to why the search result took them to another site. We should certainly avoid this confusion (and perhaps the current icon treatment is not obvious enough) but I still think it's beneficial to most people that we prioritize the content first instead of the projects.

JDrewniak (WMF) (talkcontribs)
TJones (WMF) (talkcontribs)

I was suggesting—but not describing well—something else that's sort of in between the two screenshots you have. I've hacked at one of your screenshots to make my own! It isn't pretty since I did it in an image editor rather than modifying the source, alas. Now that I've uploaded it, I don't really like the whitespace, but you get the idea.

My thought was to just have the icon for the project before the title of the page. That gives a quick visual hint as to what kind of info you are looking at. I would find that very useful, for example, on the link to "The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants", which I didn't expect to be Wikiquote. Anyway, the icons are small and easy to ignore if you don't know what they are, but they give a clear indication of what you are looking at once you become familiar with them.

I've just realized that an implicit assumption I have based on the original screenshot is that we are only planning to show one result from each project. If that's the case, then I like my "prominent icon" idea best—though as always I defer to Jan's expertise. OTOH, if we are showing multiple results from sister projects, then I like Jan's "prominent project title" design better. I think the original sidebar design might make it even harder to figure out the source of the link if there are potentially multiple results from each project.

Thanks for taking feedback and doing the extra mockup based on my comment!

JDrewniak (WMF) (talkcontribs)

@TJones (WMF) I like your icon idea best too! It strikes a good balance between putting the content first and making it clear that the search result comes from a different project :)

Reply to "Sidebar icons"
TJones (WMF) (talkcontribs)

I like the idea of adding some additional links beneath search results. In addition to category info, there's also the kind of info that's currently in infoboxes (but which would properly be better sourced from Wikidata at some point in the future)—I'm particularly thinking about the case of a movie, and having actors, directors, the film series, etc, or for a book having the author, publisher, etc.

For both categories and Wikidata there's the difficulty of choosing which info to include and which to leave out. Some articles have dozens of categories, and some categories are pretty boring (either because they are too abstract, or because they have so few entries in them)—so ranking them seems necessary.

DCausse also suggested using Portals rather than categories when they are available, which makes sense since they are more organized for human consumption.

DTankersley (WMF) (talkcontribs)
JDrewniak (WMF) (talkcontribs)

@TJones (WMF) good points. Sorting/ranking categories seems necessary. I'll add that categories might also be irrelevant when they have too many entries (the 'Living persons' category for example). Linking to portals seems like a great idea as well, although this would probably apply to a rather limited number of articles (from what I understand an article is associated with a portal only when there's a link to it on a portal page? or is it when there's a link to the portal page from the article?).

TJones (WMF) (talkcontribs)

Update: David mentioned "portals and wikiprojects"—I could only remember portals when I made the comment.

Reply to "On categories"

I like the idea of tiles, not sold on tabs.

Sadads (talkcontribs)

One of the problems that we have right now with the configuration of the search page, its just a bunch of dry text, so it requires a lot of energy and processing from someone to find what they are looking for. With tiles, you could interleave other wikis, while also giving some kind of opportunity for things to "Jump out" as exciting or engaging.

If we do do tiles, I think there needs to be some type of extra visual design that seperates Wikipedia articles from the other projects however: maybe a color change in the box characteristics, or distinct prominent placement of project labels, or something to that effect.

I also am not sold on seperating the results into tabs: folks don't know about these other projects yet, so if we leave it all up to their own decision making (having to choose the results from the other project, to see them), its going to get neglected like so many other features on the projects. There needs to be a little bit of forced exposure, to make this search change impactful for the smaller projects.

Reply to "I like the idea of tiles, not sold on tabs."
NickK (talkcontribs)

Please do not offer intermixed results, at least offer a way to switch them off. Editors often rely on search for adding internal links (e.g. I wrote an article, which articles should link to it?) or fixing errors (e.g. I fixed a typo, what other articles must have the same typo). The best approach is not offer intermixed results at all, but offer results for sister projects separately instead.

DTankersley (WMF) (talkcontribs)

We'll have a function to 'turn off' the cross-wiki search results by project/language, but it sounds like you'd want that ability within the browser itself. Is that correct?

NickK (talkcontribs)

Perhaps yes. For instance, if Italian Wikipedia has chosen intermixed results and I am looking for something explicitly in Italian Wikipedia and definitely not in any sister projects, I want to have a possibility to filter the results this way.

This means that I don't want to change the decision of Italian community if I need this feature for only one search.

DTankersley (WMF) (talkcontribs)

Thanks for the clarification!

Reply to "Intermixed results"

Will wikis have the option to keep the current more comprehensive style, which includes direct links to the target pages?

DTankersley (WMF) (talkcontribs)

Note: this topic thread was originally on email - the multiple answers to the question are below:

  1. Yes, we plan on having a type of switch in order for individual wikipedias to not show (and not fetch) the search results from other wikis of the same language, if that is what is preferred.
  2. We think that @Nemo may have meant using the style like that on the Italian Wikipedia results.
  3. Whether there will be multiple interfaces available for cross-wiki results is not something I know the answer to.
  4. Well, we're still in the early stages here as you can see from the timeline, so it is possible that the first release of the product could include this. We could generate a few mockups which include direct links to the target pages. Would you be interested in looking at those, if we did?
  5. We do have one sample treatment, modified from, that shows links to direct articles in the sister projects in the search results.
Reply to "Will wikis have the option to keep the current more comprehensive style, which includes direct links to the target pages?"
NickK (talkcontribs)

Please try to develop only those solutions where the results in the very same project are the most prominent. If a person is looking for something on Wikipedia they most likely want to find it on Wikipedia (same applies for search on Wiktionary or Wikiquote, for example)

DTankersley (WMF) (talkcontribs)


Yes, we have several samples that show the native wiki results in a more prominent fashion 1 2 and a few here that are in a tabbed display.

Thanks for the input!

Reply to "Prominence"
Jdforrester (WMF) (talkcontribs)

I love the look of these, but I worry that it makes them too dominant? Also they look hard to implement, and possibly might fail in an ugly fashion if the content is unexpected in some way, as the sources aren't structured.

DTankersley (WMF) (talkcontribs)

We wanted to show a variety of options that we could use for the display of the new cross-wiki search results so that we can pick and choose between which features we like or dislike. Or, to add in other display options that we hadn't thought of yet.

Reply to "Visually-distinct treatments"
There are no older topics