Talk:Page Previews

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About this board

Page Previews 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.

Please give us feedback on your experience using this feature so we can change and improve it. Each language is welcome in this discussion!

You can read more about the feature here.

Known Issues

Brackets containing IPA are not properly displayed

Summary by SUM1

Discovered the issue was a missing closing bracket, not an issue with hovercard.

Edit 17 April 2018: rediscovered that there is in fact an issue with the displaying of brackets containing IPA. Detailed below.

SUM1 (talkcontribs)

As I understand, it is hovercard's policy to remove bracketed content in link previews (which is a good thing). Well, it is failing to do this when the IPA template is used within brackets. It seems to end the omission at the end of the IPA template rather than at the closed brackets. As you can see in the example below, it correctly omits the next set of bracketed content after the first failed omission.

Example: pagelink preview

SUM1 (talkcontribs)

Update 17 April 2018: I have discovered that there is in fact a problem with brackets containing IPA being displayed in link previews. The problem seems to follow the exact same logic as described in my original post above.

Example: pagelink preview

@CKoerner (WMF)

CKoerner (WMF) (talkcontribs)

@SUM1 I wanted to let you know I saw this and have reported it to the project manager. We're looking into it. I'll let you know what I find out.

OVasileva (WMF) (talkcontribs)

Hi @SUM1 - thanks for reporting this! The issue you mentioned was actually happening due to a parenthetical that needed closing - note that the first parenthetical in the article right before the IPA was never closed. This has since been fixed now in the page and the preview no longer shows IPA. That said, we are aware that more edge cases with parentheticals might occur - please let us know if you've noticed any other issues.

2604:6000:120C:8033:7917:657F:8F12:F348 (talkcontribs)

Hovercard is displaying brackets and other punctuation if their are multiple IPA templates used. Examples [[w:Louisiana]], [[w:Scythian languages]], and [[w:Scythians]]

2604:6000:120C:8033:7917:657F:8F12:F348 (talkcontribs)

Those are supposed to be links to

SUM1 (talkcontribs)
Reply to "Brackets containing IPA are not properly displayed" (talkcontribs)

I don't like this, too in your face, so disabled it.

Take a look at Google Earth. You can click on a little button by cities, towns, restaurants, places of interests, campsites, etc. and up pops a card (what you call page preview) with information about it.

Go to Paris and see all of the buttons you can click to find out about stuff. Now imagine browsing through Paris and every one of those little buttons can pop out a preview if you stay over one too long. It would be unbearable. That's what this is.

The user activated button is so much more user friendly than your mouse pointer happening to rest over a link or word and it pops up. The user has the control which is the way it should be.

CKoerner (WMF) (talkcontribs)

Interesting feedback. Thank you for the consideration. I think the crucial difference is that Page Previews activate on a hyperlink. Folks expect that when you click on a hyperlink it takes you to another page. Making the preview appear upon a click (or other interaction) would fundamentally change the way hyperlinks work. That seems counter to readers expectations on how hyperlinks should behave. (talkcontribs)

Don't make the hyperlink a page preview, put a button next to the hyperlink to activate the page preview. The hyperlink would still function as expected and the button would give the user control.

You mention what readers expect. I'd bet a princely amount that what readers don't expect from hyperlinks is to scroll over them and have them pop out at you. That is not the way hyperlinks have ever worked. So you've fundamentally changed the way hyperlinks work compared to the entire rest of the content delivery world.

Reply to "Disabled"

suggestion: pop previews farther away from cursor

2 (talkcontribs)

I use two-finger trackpad scrolling on a MacBook, and since previews pop up at the cursor, and since my cursor is always near what I am reading, the popup always covers what I am reading and ignites a rageflare in my brain reminding me to disable javascript and reload the page*. It occurs to me that there would be no issue if popups positioned in either the farthest corner from the cursor (computed) or a non-obstructive region such as the left sidebar.

*I always dismissed the popups so quickly that I never noticed the gear icon, until today googling eventually informed me of it. However a slide switch like Youtube autoplay or some other binary control would have been discovered....

2601:649:0:F60D:8DF9:9B8A:5B3C:1EF9 (talkcontribs)

Amen to that sentiment. I disabled them pretty quickly because they had a surprisingly accurate ability to obscure what I was trying to read.

Any way to move them away from the reader's focus would be appreciated.

The way they are set up now, they are much more of a hindrance than a help.

Also I don't really understand the level of angst about "down the rabbit hole". Isn't that part of why we are looking at stuff on the internet? To look at stuff?

If I am researching something for work I stay very focused. Otherwise, just browsing for fun, it is interesting to see the variety of connections that come up.

Reply to "suggestion: pop previews farther away from cursor"

Page Previews Harm the Wikipedia Mission of Disseminating Information Effectively

1 (talkcontribs)

Here is a story about Page Previews:

I was using Wikipedia to research a wildlife refuge in Texas. A picture popped up and I ignored it, moving my mouse to some other area of the screen. But I saw the picture and it left an impression on me. It showed a path leading through a lush green area into a forest. In any case, I finished reading the article and put the wildlife refuge on the short list of places to visit during an upcoming trip.

Later, when planning the trip, I did some deeper research. In doing so, I learned that I had the completely wrong idea about the wildlife refuge. It isn't a lush and forested place; in fact, it has no fresh water and no trees. I went back to Wikipedia to figure out how I had formed such a misguided impression. There, I discovered that the image I associated with the place is really a picture of someplace else. It is an image that pops up automatically whenever a Wikipedia page links to the article on nature trails and the mouse moves over that link.

I now know that this feature which causes potentially unrelated images to pop-up is called "Page Previews" and is intentional.

I know that the people who administer Wikipedia are extremely smart and conscientious, so I'm fairly certain that when they planned this feature, they considered the possibility that attention-grabbing pop-ups might actually detract from their mission, making it more difficult for readers to concentrate on the article at hand, or (as in my case) misinforming readers by presenting images which, in the context of the article, lead to misguided impressions. I'm fairly certain they considered this possibility, but perhaps they regarded it as only theoretical, and they are waiting for feedback from Wikipedia users before they attempt to judge its real impact.

Thus, I wish to state that in my experience the Page Previews feature makes it more difficult to read and understand Wikipedia articles. Please take this into account when planning the future of this feature.


PS: This page is very hard to find.

Reply to "Page Previews Harm the Wikipedia Mission of Disseminating Information Effectively"
CSProfBill (talkcontribs)

I have to add my voice to the chorus of people who find the implementation of "page previews" too intrusive to accept. If I were cynical, I would say it was designed to force people to give up their privacy by beating them with page previews unless they log in. Part of the problem is the bad design of the pop-up itself. Instead of having a single click on the "gear" turn off the previews, it merely takes you to another popup, where you have to both click "disable" and click "save", then another pop-up to click "done" - 4 points and clicks in all. Even then, the attempt to turn off the harassing previews may not last through a "back" click, and is lost across private-viewing browsers or across restarts of the browsers, all of which I use quite frequently in the interests of avoiding "tracking" by various commercial websites that might share the browser with a use of Wikipedia.

In short, while I am quite sure there are some users who like the feature, and many who neither like or dislike the feature, there are some, including myself, who find it so offensive and so intrusive that it s worth while to log in to record my objections here. It seems that quietly cursing about how intrusive and offensive this "feature" is to some does not have any actual effect. I can, however, offer at least the suggestion above and another suggestion, below as an attempt to ameliorate the problem of the two opposed user communities,

The only way I can see out of the dilemma of faced by the developers of how to advertise a feature with such diverse reception to non-logged-in users, might be for wikipedia to implement an alternate url, or append start-up information in its url, so that the initial setting for such a feature can be embedded in the bookmark that accesses wikipedia initially and for the selected value to be propagated across clicks on links even when clicked as a new browser..

CKoerner (WMF) (talkcontribs)

Thank you for the feedback - and cynicism. :) Part of my job is to make sure project teams don't do anything purposefully disruptive to the reputation of the projects or larger movement. So, I hope with some faith you can believe me when I say there's been no attempt to use the feature in a manipulative way. There is a task to review the disabling of the feature for logged out users. There's also a larger discussion around settings for logged out users as mentioned below. (talkcontribs)

Is there somewhere I can add my name to a list of readers who are pissed off with preview and the fact that I can't turn it off. No matter how many times I click the settings and disable it, there they are again. I'm looking for a Firefox add-on to disable them. Anyone have any ideas?

Reply to "Too intrusive, improvements proposed"
Conny (talkcontribs)

I like the new preview, its so great. I deactivated some older gadgeds for this. Where can I get a statistic over the shown previews of all users? Because thise feature reduces article views, so I would compare new situation. Thanku you very much!

CKoerner (WMF) (talkcontribs)
Reply to "stats" (talkcontribs)

This page is not easy to find as is the disable option.

This is a strange way to use this. Hulu has a preview but it's directly related to a show. Twitter's preview/page is directly related to a user profile. Amazon also slightly increases to give you some more information on that one show. Gmail's is about the sender. All of them are a 1 to 1 relationship which make sense.

The way it is here things can suddenly popup that have nothing at all to do with the article. There is not always a 1 to 1 relationship and that makes no sense. And there's no user control except for disabling it.

Too annoying to use for me. Give the user control and it might be a good thing but as is there's nothing about it that makes sense.

CKoerner (WMF) (talkcontribs)

Regarding the disable option, we have a task for the product team to review. (talkcontribs)

I meant Netflix, not Amazon.

CKoerner (WMF) (talkcontribs)

Thanks for taking the time to provide feedback.

You said this page was difficult to find. If you don't mind me asking, how did you find it?

The feature provides more context about the hyperlinked word or phrase for readers within an article. Can you expand more on what seems strange? Are the articles linked from pages not providing context to the subject you're reading? Your examples provide similar context to the user and I want to better understand the difference.

What sort of user control could you imagine adding? (talkcontribs)

"The feature provides more context about the hyperlinked word or phrase for readers within an article."

As an example, to make Lithuanian Jews a link that I could activate by scrolling when I'm reading about Bob Dylan is just not that relevant to the article. Great that his grand parents were Lithuanian Jews but that doesn't mean I want to read about Lithuanian Jews. And it's not that there isn't some distant context there, it's that it can popup without being summoned even if I don't want to read it.

User control like a little button - I've seen small buttons with ? in them next to words and links that when clicked activates a popup that provides information, some informative, some providing help. The user has total control. It doesn't have to be disabled or enabled, it's just there IF you want to use it.

There's just way too much information in a long Wikipedia article to have all these links be popping up just by scrolling over them. For me it's too cumbersome and annoying. Easier just to turn it off so I can read the article in peace.

CKoerner (WMF) (talkcontribs)

Ah, I see. Thank you for the feedback. I'll pass it along to the product team.

Reply to "Strange use" (talkcontribs)

I tried to keep with the page preview but I had to turn them off. They’re too intrusive for reading.

They would be better as an on call type thing instead of either leaving them on or turn them off.

I’m reading about Tutankhamen and I turned on the cervical vertebrae page preview by accident, it just sprang out.

Now I can’t just read the article, I got to really pay attention to how I read it. If I don’t pay attention then here’s some of the other pages that could spring out at me while I’m trying to read:

sickle cell disease, Marfan syndrome, Philadelphia, walking sticks, CT scans and literally dozens of other really not relevant to me on this article.

And all I really want to do is read the article on Tutankhamen.

On call button would be better for everyone. Then I wouldn’t have to decide to leave it on or turn it off. This solution serves everyone and that's the goal.

CKoerner (WMF) (talkcontribs)

>On call button would be better for everyone.

Discoverability is an important aspect of reader-focused features. How would you imagine this would work? (talkcontribs)

I came here to say pretty pretty much exactly what you point out but you beat me to it. I 100% agree with you, it's very annoying not being able to just read the article without changing how you do it.

I've noticed a few more things.

Why does the Language have a settings icon/gear that you MUST manually activate but no other settings work like that? They're mixing in all kinds of user interfaces without any consistency.

Why would you introduce something like page previews in such a way that it interferes with your major purpose which is reading information? Why can't that be manually activated like the Language settings icon?

Why would they argue about putting a disable at the bottom, the same place as the enable? Again, they're using 2 completely different user interfaces to do the same thing, in this case On/Off. On not only doesn't work like Off, it's not even in the same place. It all makes for a very poor design.

I turned it off not because it couldn't be useful but because it's done so poorly and it's very annoying.

Lars Fex

CKoerner (WMF) (talkcontribs)

>Why does the Language have a settings icon/gear that you MUST manually activate but no other settings work like that? They're mixing in all kinds of user interfaces without any consistency.

Page Previews are one of the few logged-out user features that has any interface for preferences. Other tools (I would love examples) have been built by other teams over a long period of time.

Perhaps this leads credence to having some sort of unified preferences for logged-out users. :) See:

Reply to "Turned off"
Adam trev (talkcontribs)

Please put Disable option at the bottom of the page. I could not stand this and closed them immediately when they popped out. I looked around for the disable option but could not find it and had to research it. Not everyone is going to leave the popped out window open long enough for them to see the gear.

This wasted too much of my time. Don't hide it away please, make it easy for people who don't want it.

Thank you.

CKoerner (WMF) (talkcontribs)

Thanks @Adam trev for the feedback. The team considered multiple options for enabling/disabling the feature. We tried to come up with a solution that works for the majority and found that a link in the footer was not the most discoverable. There are a lot of links there already and most folks don't even read those that are there! :) Our testing shows that folks know how to disable. Regardless, I've shared your note with the team for their consideration. (talkcontribs)

Thanks for the reply but it seem odd. I do not understand how there be a lot of links that are not used as good reason to not include it. It seems like a much more likely place than to hidden away in popped out you want to go away. Are you limited to one place and only the one? It can not be in the two places?

But thank you ok.

Adam Trevijano (talkcontribs)

Hi. Just to say, I also do not think disabling is clear at all. I have spent a lot of searching to find this page and how to disable this (IMO) disruptive and intrusive change. I did not think to look at the actual pop-up because I was trying to do exactly the opposite to that! I also looked at the header and footer of the pages for settings instead.

TheDJ (talkcontribs)

Based on some of the feedback, I have created a ticket phab:T194345 to take another look at this, but it's going to be low priority I think. (talkcontribs)

Why is ok for "enable page views" at bottom but not "disable"? If as said people don't use others then why can put "enable" but not "disable". Why low priority? If one is there why not the other? Make no reasonable sense.

Reply to "Please make disabling more visible"
YappyHiker (talkcontribs)

I tried to deal with the settings as a logged on user but the page preview section in Appearances is not showing the ability to do this. Just gives me the Skin and then the date. Why?

CKoerner (WMF) (talkcontribs)

Hello. Which wiki are you trying this on? For instance, it's not enabled here on or on a project like Wikidata.

Reply to "Not Seeing Page Previews"