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Adjustments to visual mode's toolbar

19
PPelberg (WMF) (talkcontribs)

While testing version 2.0 of the Reply tool, several people noted that when using the tool's visual mode, the formatting tools (Bold, Italic, Link, etc.) can be hard to reach because they are located far from peoples' focus.

We're responding to this feedback by experimenting with moving the tools TO the left side of the visual mode's toolbar FROM the right side. In right-to-left languages, the tools would appear on the right side of the toolbar.

@Aron Manning (source), @Jules* (source), @Gnom (source) and @Geraki (source), considering y'all explicitly mentioned how the text formatting tools can, in some cases, be difficult to reach, we wonder: What do you (and of course, anyone else!) think of this version of the tool that locates the tools on the left side of the screen in LTR languages?

You can experiment with a prototype of the Reply tool that has the tools on the left side of the visual mode's toolbar here: http://patchdemo.wmflabs.org/wikis/d24f36b58213af4b88912a2e8484de95/w/index.php/Talk:Main_Page

Notes: we are also testing this new location with people who are new to using wikitext talk pages; this experimentation is happening in phab:T257281.

A screenshot comparing two locations of the visual mode's text tools.
Jules* (talkcontribs)

Hi @PPelberg (WMF), thanks for the ping. Tested it. I think it is way better like this, more "instinctive"!

The only negative point is that Source/Visual menu is now right side ;), but I guess this menu is way less often needed/used than the formatting one.

Best regards.

PPelberg (WMF) (talkcontribs)

Thank you for having a look at this, @Jules* and sharing what you think!

I think it is way better like this, more "instinctive"!

This is good to hear.

...only negative point is that Source/Visual menu is now right side ;), but I guess this menu is way less often needed/used than the formatting one.

We are holding a similar assumption and we will know the extent to which people are switching back and forth between text input modes once we analyze engagement with the tool, which will happen in this Phabricator task: task T247139 (see "5. What text input mode (source or visual) are people using to publish comments?")

Aron Manning (talkcontribs)

Hi @PPelberg (WMF)! I have the same impression as Jules. Especially in source editing, the empty space in place of the toolbar is unusual. I suspect there might be an editing toolbar one day for source mode too, but even then it's not obvious I can switch to the more comfortable visual editing.

When suggesting moving the toolbar to the left, originally I had the idea to keep the Source/Visual switch there and append the editing toolbar to it. This would keep the Source/Visual toggle in space when switching.

PPelberg (WMF) (talkcontribs)

We appreciate you giving this a thorough review, @Aron Manning. A follow up question and comment for you...

Question

Especially in source editing, the empty space in place of the toolbar is unusual.

Would it be accurate for me to understand the above as you suggesting it's a bit odd that the change in state when switching between the source and visual modes is as "pronounced" as it currently is [i]?

Comment

...it's not obvious I can switch to the more comfortable visual editing.

We are curious about this as well. In fact, we are running a usability test at this moment to learn, in part, the extent to which this change impacts how people notice/engage with the mode switching tabs. See "Variant C" in T257281.


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i. "Currently is" = the tools are there in visual and then, poof, they're gone in source

Valereee (talkcontribs)

When I go to the patch link to try this out, it wants me to log in. I'm confused -- everywhere else I go, I just authorize my regular login that I use on every other WMF site.

Gnom (talkcontribs)

Well, having the buttons on the left is definitely better. I still think people won't understand the button names source and visual, but that's another bug :-)

PPelberg (WMF) (talkcontribs)

We appreciate you having a look at this, @Gnom.

I still think people won't understand the button names source and visual, but that's another bug :-)

Another bug indeed, still very much a valid hypothesis nonetheless :)

Aron Manning (talkcontribs)

@Valereee patchdemos aren't integrated with central login, those are short-lived, independent, bare-bones wikis just to demonstrate individual changes. Security is not an aim there, so don't use your regular password.

I've made an account for testing that you can use, or you can make your own. Username: "Test" Password: "testtesttest".

Valereee (talkcontribs)

Ah, I see...thanks, good idea to just set up a test account!

Whatamidoing (WMF) (talkcontribs)

@Samat, @Lofhi, @Ad Huikeshoven, @Dyolf77 (WMF): I want to make sure you saw this proposed change. Habib, obviously in a RTL wiki, the "left" and "right" on that image should be the other way around.

Dyolf77 (WMF) (talkcontribs)

@Whatamidoing (WMF), thanks! That is, in deed, more "instinctive". I didn't test it in a RTL text configuration, but I am confident, I will have the same instinctive experience.

JKlein (WMF) (talkcontribs)

Hi @Dyolf77 (WMF) can you actually give that a try? We'd love to hear what the RTL experience is like for you.

Dyolf77 (WMF) (talkcontribs)
Ad Huikeshoven (talkcontribs)

@PPelberg (WMF) @Whatamidoing (WMF) I do like to have the tools on the left side, yes. And the source/visual switch on the right, preferably the same as on article pages, the pen with drop down list (drop up in Flow).

PPelberg (WMF) (talkcontribs)

Thank you for having a look, @Ad Huikeshoven.

...preferably the same as on article pages, the pen with drop down list (drop up in Flow).

Just to make sure I'm understanding you accurately, you're suggesting the above out of a concern for consistency? Read: people will expect all editing interfaces to add to/edit content on Wikipedia to be, essentially, the same and as such the icons/affordances used within them to be the same as well.

Ad Huikeshoven (talkcontribs)

Yes, I like consistency. Plus the text under the pen icon is more descriptive, "visual editing", "source editing".

PPelberg (WMF) (talkcontribs)

Understood – thank you for confirming, @Ad Huikeshoven. While the naming and presentation of the tool's text input modes is out of scope for this particular issue, this is the ticket where we are continuing to think about the issue you are raising here: phab: T255085.

PPelberg (WMF) (talkcontribs)

@Ad Huikeshoven, @Dyolf77 (WMF) , @Jules* and @Valereee: thank you all for reviewing the prototype.

Based on the comments y'all have shared in this thread, I am assuming we have not yet uncovered any reasons that would lead us not to move the text tools to the left side of the Reply Tool's visual mode text area in LTR languages and the right side in RTL languages.

If this is not accurate, please comment as much in this thread or on this ticket: phab:T257280.

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