Research:Media Viewer preference elicitation

From Meta, a Wikimedia project coordination wiki
Duration:  2014-07 – 2014-07
and time/mindshare of 4 (?) Wikimedia Foundation staff

This page documents a planned research project.
Information may be incomplete and change before the project starts.

Media Viewer is a new feature that aims to improve the image viewing experience for users of Wikipedia and Wikimedia sites. Recently, RfCs on English Wikipedia[1][2], German Wikipedia[3] and Commons[4] have questioned the utility of this feature and have resulted in requests that the feature be disabled for all users opt-in. Many members of the Wikimedia community are concerned about the needs of ~500 million readers -- and ~85k active editors[5] on Wikipedia & Commons -- among other stakeholders.

The goal of this research project is to gather data on the preferences of Wikipedia/Commons editors.

Concerns raised in the RfC[edit]

  • The design of the Media Viewer failed to adequately investigate reader and editor preferences
  • Readers represent a much larger pool of Wikipedia users than editors -- yet they are unreachable through RfC
  • Media Viewer doesn't include some details (e.g. copyright) available on the file page
  • Media Viewer doesn't support some editing activities (e.g. editing a file description)


In order to gather feedback from editors, we (1) randomize the default setting for users who have not already set their preferences and (2) present users who click on images with Viewing Options Panel (see #Page in Media Viewer and #Panel in File Page) in order to allow them to make a decision about which user experience they prefer.

To learn about the usefulness of Media Viewer, we propose to collect user preference data for logged-in and logged-out users on the English Wikipedia, as well as on Wikimedia Commons.

Default setting randomization[edit]

Due to the "power of defaults"[6], a test that sets either the Media View or the File Page as the default result of a file click would be likely to strongly affect the results of preference elicitation. In order to control for this, we randomly split default preferences between users (50/50) by the time that they first click on an image before asking for their their preference.

The Viewing Options Panel[edit]

Media Viewer already includes a ’Disable’ text link, but it is located below the fold and can be hard to find; this new feature would display a new ‘cog' icon prominently at the top right of the screen. In order to encourage users to choose their preference, we plan to develop a prominent Viewing Options Panel. This panel will make it easier to disable or enable this feature as well as allow us to to track the preferences of editors. This Viewing Options Panel will be presented on both the File Page and within MediaViewer. See mockups shown in the figures below. See also a rough prototype).

Design mockup for "Viewing Options Panel” in Media Viewer.
Panel in Media Viewer. Design mockup for "Viewing Options Panel” in Media Viewer.
Design mockup for "Viewing Options Panel” on a file page.
Panel on File Page. Design mockup for "Viewing Options Panel” on a file page.

Preference via Opt-in/out[edit]

As soon as this new feature has been released, we plan to track the number of enable and disable events on this existing opt-in/out dashboard; this dashboard now tracks clicks on the “Disable/Enable’ text links, which would be replaced by the Viewing Options Panel.

We'll log preference selections until at least 10k users make a choice before beginning the analysis. The analysis would include separate reports for logged-in and logged-out users; if possible, we would like to develop percentage dashboards for both user groups, as outlined in this preliminary proposal.

Acceptance criteria[edit]

We will invite community members to discuss this proposed study on the discussion page.