Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Template editor

The Wikipedia Usability Initiative is finally making good progress on their template folding and template editor. Much of what the project has been doing with the edit screen has been in preparation of this work. The editor now folds complicated templates into a small block. One of the sandboxes the project uses now has the code deployed and it seems to be working quite well. Be aware that this is a development platform, and that browser peculiarities might not be fully dealt with yet. It is also NOT final.

The wiki editor with folded templates.

You can unfold the block, by clicking on the arrow to show the template code, or you can click the block and you are presented with a template editor that makes it easier to change the values of the template. This should be very helpful, because research showed that much of the trouble people had with editing Wikipedia, was the complex code on the edit pages. The template code is by far the most obscure and complicated code of all our wiki markup in my opinion. I suspect we will see more of these kinds of additional markup in the editor in the future (headers and links seem like a logical next step).

By clicking the folded Infobox template, you get this template editor.

You might be interested in this video that shows the experience some of the Usability Study subjects were having on the edit page a year ago.


  1. I am tremendously excited about this development -- I think the Usability/User Experience team has gone a long way toward addressing the single biggest obstacle to new contributors. When this is implemented, it will make my job much easier =)

    Go team!

    -Pete Forsyth
    Public Outreach Officer, Wikimedia Foundation

  2. That looks really good. That cleans up a whole bunch of extra code mess in articles. Keep it up usability!!

  3. I really like it, except for one thing. In the SF example, the Convert template folds so that you can't see what's being converted. Would it be completely off the wall for templates to support code that says "show this parameter when folded"?