Sharing this on mobile-l.
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: C. Scott Ananian <cananian(a)wikimedia.org>
Date: Wed, Sep 30, 2015 at 12:14 PM
Subject: [Design] The page design of our dreams
To: Wikimedia designers <design(a)lists.wikimedia.org>
Let's revisit the basic way that Mediawiki lays out media and content.
It has worked well enough for twenty years, but perhaps we can do
In particular, I would like to be able to (a) make Wikimedia projects
looks Really Beautiful (b) on a variety of different devices and
Mobile and print are the forerunners here: in both cases we'd like
more flexibility to lay out infoboxes, media, tables, and content in
1) We'd like to be able to tag lead images, and use them more
generally (backgrounds for page titles, previews, etc)
2) Infoboxes, references, footnotes, etc want to be untethered from
their source location in the content and moved around -- for example,
to sidebars or popups on mobile; to the footer or dedicated pages in
3) We would like to be able to crop and scale images better, but need
focal point information or a box around critical regions of the image.
(If the article is about the sun, and the photo is of a sunny day,
cropping the sun out would be bad. Other images have critical
features at the edges of the image we don't want to lose.) We
currently have a single option "thumb", and a single user-specified
scaling factor, meant for accessibility --- but an accessible size
will differ on different devices, and the scaling factor doesn't apply
to all images, only to those using "thumb".
4) We need more semantic information about images in order to make
better layouts: in print, is this a "wide" image appropriate for
spanning across multiple columns, or a "feature" image appropriate for
having a page to itself? Is this a meaningful parallel grouping of
images (ie, before and after) which shouldn't be broken up (but could
be arranged either horizontally or vertically, or perhaps with a
slider)? Should this image be laid out inline (rarely) or can it
float to a more aesthetic location?
5) Even text content might be unmoored -- why can't we have pull
quotes or sidebars in our articles?
6) What else? What other features of magazine, newpaper, or
encyclopedia design are we missing?
From a technical perspective, I'd like to move
eventually toward a
system with greater separation of layout and content (think of
something like adobe pagemaker), where changes to layout can be made
without editing the article text. But I'd also like to make sure that
the technical issues don't overshadow the actual goal:
* What beautiful designs would you like for article content?
* What tools could we build to enable these designs?
Eventually we'd like to boil this down into a concrete design for a
better image styling system, which seems like a reasonable first step
in revamping what mediawiki can do for designers. That RFC is
-- ideally the RFC will be
guided by a concrete design for a specific article, say,
, so that the
implementation of the RFC can focus on building the capabilities
needed to execute that specific design. That way we're certain we're
building something useful and beautiful for designers and readers, not
just implementing something whose PHP code seems elegant.
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