Learning patterns/Creating portals
What problem does this solve?
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?
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.
Things to consider
- ... 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
- ... 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.
- Portals, introductory page on the English Wikipedia