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Wikipedia has been taken over by marketing

Zanaq (talkcontribs)
  • right cognitive load = marketing speak for dumbing down
  • user experience similar across platforms = marketing speak for a compromise that doesn't make optimal use of the capabilities of each platform.

Zanaq (talk) 23:46, 10 July 2017 (UTC)

Volker E. (WMF) (talkcontribs)

@Zanaq Hi, I'm sorry that you feel we've been taking on marketing speech. Take notice, that the Wikimedia Foundation is behind this specific change and Wikipedia is only one of the projects we care about on several levels, among those, technologically. You might be aware of this already, wanted to point this out for others coming across this discussion though.

I would like to give insights as one of the people responsible behind these changes. We've been including several measurements in our user-interface library OOUI and in MediaWiki (the software building the fundament for Wikipedia and others) transforming pages to make use of this library – and our standard buttons and form elements.

You're pointing at “right coginitive load” and this is a bit of a blurry term. It originates from psychology and applies to user-interfaces and is a well-established and research backed umbrella term in user-experience circles. We actually try to reduce the cognitive load for users, for example by strengthening consistency (using the same buttons aka button appearances for the same actions across our interface) or grouping elements that belong together visually together. Please see this article for a rough collection of such measurements.

To your point about similar user experience across platforms: We designed OOUI to work on mobile and desktop in a user-friendly and accessible way. It's superior to the status quo (on non-OOUI using special pages) which fails on desktop on various occurrences. With an already big and steadily increasing amount of users accessing our products on mobile devices this is a pain point for many of our users. We try to improve their usage without sensibly adapting it on desktop as well. And I can assure you, that we're not stopping there, but go for specific improvements on platforms beyond this general, standardized fundament. We need this approach in order to be resourceful with our time and the donations. Not doing so and and working only platform-specific would not only make it harder for users to accomplish their tasks between different devices they are using or unable to use our website at all in a productive way, it would also be wasteful from a design and development perspective.

Hope I could give a bit of explanation for those expert terms used, which we didn't mean to use in a “marketing speak” manner. Please feel invited to participate by filing tasks tagged with #ui-standardization on our issue tracker Phabricator in order to make this a more satisfying approach.

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