Talk:WMDE Technical Wishes/ReferencePreviews

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Reference Tooltips[edit]

See also mw:Reference Tooltips and its improved version on the discussion page. The RedBurn (talk) 23:41, 17 July 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Choosing hover/click[edit]

If WMDE is considering to implement this by default (like WMDE does with everything), please consider providing a way to choose whether someone wants to have previews by click or by simple hover. It is an option in the current gadget and it is there for a reason, since, if there are functional previews available, there’s no reason for people to click on footnotes to go to the bottom of the page.

Also, as I said on Phabricator, personally I consider these mockups to be too big in their size. Footnote previews can be substantially longer than article previews, and they should be generally less important to the reader than article previews. Right now the mockup is substantially bigger than it should be.

Please take time to consider nested content (lists, footnotes in footnotes etc.) and good luck in your development. stjn[ru] 11:23, 6 December 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]

@Saint Johann: Thanks for taking the time to comment. I'm sorry it took me a while to reply. I'm not sure I'm understanding you right when you ask for "a way to choose whether someone wants to have previews by click or by simple hover". In the proposed solution, you would see the preview both on click and on hover. Could you describe a bit more when and why having only one of the two would be important?
The topic of popups sizes is certainly an interesting one. We've received feedback both to make them smaller and to make them bigger, and both are valid. At this point, we don’t know for sure which one is better. The presented solution worked well in the first tests we did, but this topic doesn’t seem to be finished.
Concerning nested footnotes, I replied in the section below (#A few points).
-- Thanks and have a happy weekend, Johanna Strodt (WMDE) (talk) 14:44, 14 December 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Johanna Strodt (WMDE): I can answer that one! Some people get very frustrated by things that randomly "pop up" when they were just moving their mouse cursor across the screen. (I.e. They find it distracting, off-putting, confusing, mental-train-derailing). The ability to set the ReferenceTooltips to only show when the user makes a conscious decision to "click" a citation number, was made to help those people. -- This has been the primary source of complaints about the PagePreviews feature. -- I also took a look at w:en:WP:NAVPOPS and it doesn't look like that gadget has a similar feature (unless the experimental/undocumented setting popupPreviewButtonEvent handles this?), but there was an old request for it.
IMO, an alternative solution that might possibly satisfy this issue, is to add a preference for changing the "timing", i.e. being able to set how many seconds I need to hover a link before it pops. This is a widely used preference in NAVPOPS (enwiki search result), and is also available in ReferenceTooltips (screenshot), and was originally a user-configurable setting in PagePreviews (but removed during a code rewrite), and I suggested it as a primary component in my wireframe idea for the proposed accessibility/usability panel. HTH! Quiddity (talk) 20:00, 14 December 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Well, basically, I’d like to have control and not be dependent on some algorithm. I would probably be satisfied with any solution that disables the function of links to references (going to a target ID), but that’s what would be most important to me.
For the topic of popups size, it would be definitely helpful to do some kind of exploration over how big is a text of typical reference to know for sure, but I don’t doubt that it would be hard to do with all our templates. I lean toward smaller text (in a moderate approach, of course) because it would fit more information without much harm. In that way, I don’t find current header-text-link approach too good for this. stjn[ru] 12:04, 15 December 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It is important to be able to disable the hover function because if latency is poor the reader can end up with a screen filled with distracting pop ups if they don't disappear quickly, making the page difficult to read without switching the gadget etc. off.Nigel Ish (talk) 19:38, 24 October 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Size and scrolling[edit]

I'd like to see how further examples and discussion about how it would/could/should work with larger content within each <ref>. There are many articles that contain large and detailed citations, or include large quotation-excerpts from the citation, so this will be a significant aspect of how it works.

I'm concerned about the proposed idea of scrollable content within these previews ("If the footnote's content is too big, you can scroll within the pop-up."). Specifically I'm concerned about how big the preview would need to be before it starts offering a scrollbar (versus just expanding-to-fit). However I do understand that it has to happen at some size (ie. it has to fit within the browser window). My top-most specific worries are:

  • Readers are less likely to see anything that requires interaction, so long citations and excerpts that are cut-off partway will inevitably get fewer readers.
  • Secondary scrollbars are often considered a UX anti-pattern, because they can interfere with user-intentions in a few ways. E.g. when scrolling within a sub-window, once I scroll to the end of the area it can cause the entire window to start-scrolling which might lose my place in the page. E.g.2. I might want to scroll the entire page, but because my mouse cursor is in the wrong place either the sub-window scrolls or nothing happens. (I'd guess this depends on technical implementation details)

For a random example (and I wish I had time to find more of these, or track down the example used in the embedded video) at w:en:ASCII#cite_ref-Haynes_2015_55-0 the Reference Tooltips gadget displays the long-ish excerpt in full (screenshot). I hope ReferencePreviews can also accomplish this. HTH! Quiddity (talk) 19:54, 6 December 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Thanks, Quiddity! As I've written in my reply to stjn above, there seem to be opposing preferences when it comes to the size of popups. We don't know yet which way will be the best in the end, but we'll gladly take all of your feedback to figure this out. -- A happy weekend to you and sorry for replying so late, Johanna Strodt (WMDE) (talk) 14:44, 14 December 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]

A few points[edit]

Regarding the "Research" section: All of the gadgets mentioned (enwiki, dewiki, nlwiki) are in fact ReferenceTooltips, which is enabled by default on 59 Wikipedias and available opt-in on many others. Some styling changes were made by certain wikis to match Page Previews styles.

Regarding intended behaviour, I very much advise against removing support for nested footnotes. I also share Quiddity's concerns above.

Please run this by the community somewhere before implementing potentially controversial changes. --Yair rand (talk) 20:18, 6 December 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Agree about the nested tooltips. If you are going to introduce support for short citations (which is great), this would be practically worthless if nested tooltips aren't supported (that's the animation of how the current gadget in ruwiki handles this). Jack who built the house (talk) 11:26, 9 December 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Yair rand and Jack who built the house: Apologies for my late reply. Thanks for your feedback, and for the animation, it's really helpful. At this stage, we’re still in the process of creating the first base version, and having a popup appear on a popup is a little bit of a risky move. We'd like to discuss this at a later point in time. -- Best, Johanna Strodt (WMDE) (talk) 14:44, 14 December 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Johanna Strodt (WMDE): It is the animation of the updated version of the Reference Tooltips gadget. Honestly, if you're just reworking the codebase for (almost) the same appearance, I don't see the incentive to move to the future ReferencePreviews extension. As a person who developed the new version and knows relatively well its benefits and drawbacks, I would argue in my community to stick with my version if the one created by your team wouldn't be at least not worse. Thanks. Jack who built the house (talk) 01:47, 21 December 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Yair rand: Even though you wrote this a while ago, I'd like to reply to your request to run these changes by the community before implementing them. Our plan is to deploy this feature as a beta feature first (as we usually do), and we do this specifically to collect feedback. In our opinion, a beta phase has the benefit that people can comment on an actual feature that they can use. -- Have a good weekend, Johanna Strodt (WMDE) (talk) 13:09, 25 January 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'll add a +1, and note that I use the gadget NavigationPopups instead of PagePreviews partially because PagePreviews cannot do (or doesn't show) nested links. The wiki-rabbit-hole is so much deeper and richer and faster to navigate with nested links (aka recursive links). (I usually have both turned on, because I load navpopups globally and therefor it doesn't get detected by the local extension, hence I can take easy screenshot comparisons!). Quiddity (talk) 20:16, 14 December 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]

First feedback[edit]

Once again, great that this functionality is being developed on global level.

I tested how it works in TestWiki and found the height being too restrictive, maybe instead of 200px you can make it something like 50vh (if there is concern at all with height)? Moreover, we should do something so that the scrollbar appears at least on the right border of popup instead of inside it.

The icon, as it stands, is too big for OOUI guidelines (24px instead of 20px) and too big at all. In terms of appearance, in my opinion, it would be a lot more apt to do something like this: text in smaller size to get more text in and to look more like a regular references block, less margins (bold already plays a differentiating factor), icon in the size of accompanying text (since it’s secondary to block’s purpose). Would love to hear the opinions of others. stjn[ru] 12:27, 16 March 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Hi stjn, I’m really sorry for replying so late. In general, the idea behind this design (which follows the Wikimedia style guide) is to make it consistent with the Page Previews feature. This helps people know what to expect when hovering over links. The text size is bigger so that it's easier to read. I’ll pass on the more specific remarks about icon size, scrollbars etc. and will get back to you as soon as I know more. -- Best, Johanna Strodt (WMDE) (talk) 15:33, 4 April 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Hi stjn, so here's a more specific reply:
  • Concerning the height, there is a general consideration to keep the popups under a certain size, in order to make sure they are easy to escape, and feel sized accordingly with their importance relative to other elements. Dynamically defining the height (as vh or %) with a sensible minimum and maximum is not something we have yet considered. It seems worthwhile to explore.
  • Concerning scrollbars, can you provide more specific details regarding what browser you are using, and ideally a screenshot of what you are seeing?
  • The icon is currently being rendered too large, yes. We will be fixing this before the release. Thanks for that!
  • Margins, font-size, spacing are all designed for readability and consistency with our style guide, as mentioned before.
Best, Johanna Strodt (WMDE) (talk) 15:53, 11 April 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • @Johanna Strodt (WMDE): Sorry for not answering earlier, I renamed my account earlier and didn’t get the ping. Here’s a screenshot for scrollbar problem, I’m using Firefox 66 on Windows 8.1. Sorry to hear that there can’t be made any adjustments to styling, because as it stands, I expect that many references will definitely get cut off. I hope having an option to get popups by clicking on the references and not by hovering, like I suggested earlier and like it’s already done in ReferenceTooltips gadget, will still be considered. stjn[ru] 12:02, 10 May 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Related work with Wikidata as target project[edit]


I posted some feedback at mw:Topic:Ux5wee5rnaa55how.


--Hjfocs (talk) 13:35, 3 April 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

We already have Reference_Tooltips[edit]

I don't understand why you built this when we already have Reference Tooltips. Moreover ReferencePreviews appears to be significantly inferior to the existing Reference Tooltips in several respects. The scrollbar is bad. The extra whitespace is bad. The fact that it doesn't work with PagePreviews shut off is bad. And probably other issues - I mainly looked at this weeks ago but I wasn't able to reply at the time so I may have forgotten other issues. Alsee (talk) 07:24, 29 July 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

@Alsee: The feature now also works when Page Previews are disabled. -- Best, Johanna Strodt (WMDE) (talk) 09:04, 6 November 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Johanna Strodt (WMDE) the product working without Page Previews is an improvement. However the feedback here and at EnWiki Village Pump is that this product is both redundant to, and inferior to, the existing Reference_Tooltips. There are also complaints of too much whitespace (I haven't checked whether there has been any change to the whitespace). The community has expressed a consistent desire to minimize whitespace in feedback on other projects. Wikipedia isn't a social network or casual-reading entertainment site, we are a work&research site. We are more information-dense than most websites. We don't like unnecessary whitespace.
  • Why did you build a redundant version?
  • Why have you stuck with your version, when feedback has been that it's inferior to the pre-existing version?
  • Do you intent to work towards deployment of your version as a default feature for all readers? And if so, why?
  • If you are indeed still planning to deploy this product, do you plan to reduce the whitespace? (Again, I note that I have not checked whether there has been any change to the whitespace in the last few months.)
Alsee (talk) 20:47, 18 November 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Alsee: I'm very, very sorry for my late reply. I was gone for most part of last year, and am still catching up.
  • The reason why we built an additional preview feature is this: Reference Previews are built as part of a MediaWiki extension. Having a preview functionality integrated into MediaWiki means that all wikis can use it easily, without installing a gadget. Currently, many wikis don’t use the existing gadget. On German Wikipedia, for instance, that is because the gadget was unmaintained and had several other issues. Also, Reference Previews is not exactly a new feature per se, but it complements the Page Previews feature which already existed before. Both are consistent in their look and behavior, which will make for a more consistent reading experience.
  • Wikis which have Reference Tooltips as a default gadget will stay that way, unless they choose to make Reference Tooltips a non-default gadget; then they'll get Reference Previews as a default for all readers and users who haven't switched previews off (more info).
  • No, reducing the whitespace is not planned. But there have been several changes to the look of the pop-up. Also, I have added info about the size of the pop-ups here. -- Best, Johanna Strodt (WMDE) (talk) 14:49, 16 March 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Font size is much larger than the default for the page[edit]

As shown in this screen shot, the font size in the Reference Preview pop-up is much larger than the default size used in body text. It should be the same size that is used in the References section (i.e. in the reflist template on en.WP). Using an appropriate (i.e. small) font size might help mitigate some of the scrolling that is an obvious UI problem. – Jonesey95 (talk) 22:02, 24 October 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

This is stated rather matter of factly, but why should it be the same size as in the References section ? the only reason it is small there, as far as I know, is to further emphasise the different type of content from what comes before and after that section, as well as to make sure the section isn't about the same size as the article itself... But that doesn't translate to why it should be smaller in a popup.. Also the icon already is an indication for it being a reference so.. Yeah, maybe scrolling, but honestly that hasn't really been a practical problem for me so far (maybe the articles i read don't have large references). —TheDJ (talkcontribs) 11:13, 25 October 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Here's an example: Go to This en.WP article. Find note "b" and hover over it with both ReferencePreviews and the Reference Tooltips gadget. At least in my browser, the Tooltips gadget easily shows the whole note, while the ReferencePreviews popup shows a much larger font in a smaller pop-up window, forcing scrolling. There is no UI need for a font that is larger than the font used in the article, let alone the giant-sized font used in the ReferencePreviews popup. Jonesey95 (talk) 17:20, 31 January 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
This is what the preview looks like now.
@Jonesey95: Thanks a lot for your feedback! I apologize for my late reply. In the meantime, the maximum height of the pop-ups has been changed. This way, it takes much longer footnote content until scrollbars appear in the pop-ups, see phab:T246029. The font size is 100%, as is the font size in the article text. -- Best, Johanna Strodt (WMDE) (talk) 15:09, 16 March 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The font size is still larger in Reference Previews in my browser (Firefox for Mac, latest version). It renders at 100% in Safari for Mac. Jonesey95 (talk) 16:14, 16 March 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Too much white space between "Web reference" and the reference text[edit]

Also visible in the screen shot in the section above: there is too much white space between the text "Web reference" and the reference text itself, and too much white space between the reference text and "jump to reference". – Jonesey95 (talk) 22:07, 24 October 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

@Jonesey95: I'm very sorry for my late reply. I was gone for most part of last year, and am still catching up on things. About your remark: Maybe you have already noticed that the link "jump to reference" was removed altogether, see phab:T265482. -- Thanks a lot for your feedback, Johanna Strodt (WMDE) (talk) 14:57, 16 March 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Needs link to settings, like Reference Tooltips[edit]

It appears that the goal of this feature is to replace the Reference Tooltips gadget; there is no point to having both. The Settings (gear wheel) feature of Reference Tooltips should be added to this new feature. It looks like task T234205 has already requested this feature parity. Jonesey95 (talk) 22:04, 24 October 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

@Jonesey95: Hello! Just wanted to let you know that a cog wheel will in fact be visible when the feature goes out of the beta phase. This will be the case on a first set of wikis soon. If your wiki community wants to have Reference Previews as a default feature, please let us know, and we'll add your wiki to the group for the first deployment. -- Best, Johanna Strodt (WMDE) (talk) 10:11, 3 March 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]