Learning patterns/Creating portals

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A learning pattern forwiki design
Creating portals
P blank.svg
problemThe pattern explains the process of creating portals on Wikipedia.
solutionPortals are well organised pages that help readers and editors easily navigate through specific topic areas.
created on14:35, 16 November 2017 (UTC)

What problem does this solve?[edit]

Content navigation on Wikipedia may be an effortful and time-consuming task for readers in the absence of tools or pages that enable having a terse glimpse at a topic. Categories and lists are certainly the most common way that readers and editors navigate through a topic area on Wikipedia. They both provide a systematic way of claassifying related articles but at the same time seem to be insufficient in visually organising the entire amount of content on a topic in one place and in a readable way. For example, a central category or a central list of a topic might well summarise the content using tree organisation. Yet, the visual output of these pages will consist of other categories, lists or links to articles that do not attract attention and thus only partially solve the problem.

What is the solution?[edit]

Pages that offer solution to the shortcomings of the categories and lists in ameliorating the content navigation are the portals. The underlying idea of creating portals to summarise content stems from Wikipedia's main page. As the main page provides access to the encyclopedia, portals provide access to specific topic areas. Herefrom, it can be conveniently said that portals are "main pages" of the topic areas they cover. The portals should not be seen as a substitute of categories and lists but rather as complementary pages that aim at integrating the former two on a higher level. Their main value added arises from the additional features that they offer, such like featuring high quality content, presenting interesting facts from articles, listing necessary pages for creation or improvement, informing about projects aimed at contributing to the topic and linking to other related portals and external pages.

Portals typically do not have a strictly defined structure and, in some cases, their content can depend on the topic areas they cover. Nevertheless, some elements can be found in most portals and may be considered standard. They are presented in the table immediately bellow.

Standard elements of a portal
Element Image Description
Introduction Introduction (portal).png The introductionary section's goal is to introduce readers with the topic area that the portal covers. This section is usually placed on the top of the portal page and it contains an abstract of topic's central article. Since portals cover topics with existing Wikipedia articles, the abstracted article should bear the same name (e.g. abstract of "Architecture" in the Architecture portal, abstract of "Rock music" in the Rock music portal etc.).
Featured content section
This section presents a high-quality article and can also be used to promote other featured content such like pictures videos or lists. Depending on the type of content that is featured, the section may consist of multiple sub-sections (e.g. featured article, featured picture, featued list etc.). There is no rule on how the featured content section should be dispersed through the page and the Wikipedia's main page can be used as a good example.
Did-you-know section Did-you-know section (portal).png The did-you-know section identifies interesting facts from the articles on the topic and puts them visible in an irrogative form. The number of facts included in this section may vary mostly based on the availability of space on the portal page.
Get-involved information Get-involved information (portal).png The main purpose of the get-involved information is to inform the readers about how Wikipedia users are organised towards methodically expanding the topic area. This section usually provides information about related WikiProjects and shortlists links to needed non-existing articles or articles containing maintenance tags. Considering the nature and purpose of this section, it can be conveniently considered a Wikipedia-related rather than topic-related.
Category tree Category tree (portal).png Category tree is a useful navigational tool. It collapses all categories contained in the main category of the topic (e.g. "Category:Physics" collapsed in the Physics portal, "Category:Economics" collapsed in the Economics portal).
Related portals Related portals (portal).png This section is usually placed on the bottom of the portal page and it contains links to portals on related topics (e.g. links to Analysis, Logic and Statistics portals from the Mathematics portal).
External links External links (portal).png The external links section is usually found on the very bottom of the portal page and it contains links to relevant pages on the other Wikimedia projects (e.g. links to course materials on Wikibooks and Wikiversity).

Things to consider[edit]

  • ... consider creating portals on topics that abound in content.
  • ... consider introducing new elements to improve portal design.
  • ... consider maintaining portal pages with fresh content.
  • ... consider linking to portals from articles and categories.

When to use[edit]

  • ... when willing to improve navigation through specific topic areas.
  • ... when willing to start a programme, project or initiative.
  • ... when willing to organise community events and conferences.
  • ... when willing to provide information about community resources.


See also[edit]

Related patterns[edit]

External links[edit]

  • Portals, introductory page on the English Wikipedia