Wikipedia Adds Page Preview on Mouseover Feature
Ron Perillo / 2 years ago
Improving Information Navigation in Wikipedia
The popular online encyclopedia Wikipedia has rolled out a new navigation feature to ease information browsing. This is the ‘Page Previews’ which shows a snippet of the article on the link without clicking it. Users simply need to mouseover the link and a small rectangular child window pops up instantly with the preview. Wikipedia has actually been rolling this feature out slowly over the past year on several of their alternate language versions. However, it is now official on the English Wikipedia.
Although the feature itself is quite simple, it was harder to implement than it seems. It has actually been built through careful and vigorous A/B testing: scaling APIs to Wikipedia levels of traffic and a change to how they build their code. According to them, testing shows that the feature makes it easier and more efficient for readers to interact with the content. Furthermore, readers can get more context about a topic this way.
What is the Point of This Feature?
This feature was not implemented on a whim. It is actually the solution to the problem of readers needing to go back and forth between articles. Especially when they just need to quickly find the meaning or context of one word. This also achieves the goal of decreasing the cost of exploration for each blue link on the site. Enabling readers to satisfy their curiosity without the burden of traveling to another page and returning again.
Although enabled by default, this is actually an opt-in feature. According to Wikipedia, the rates of disabling the feature are negligibly low among users. Which they are counting as an indicator for the success of its implementation so far. For any comments or suggestions regarding this feature, users can check out the project’s discussion page here.