[Foundation-l] hiding interlanguage links by default is a Bad Idea, part 2

Erik Moeller erik at wikimedia.org
Sat Jun 5 21:07:20 UTC 2010

The original intent of the UX team, as I understand it, was to help
readers find essential (frequently clicked) elements in the navigation
more easily by collapsing less essential ones.

It has been legitimately argued that the language links are essential
for many users, even if the click rate is lower than that of some
other elements, and that they are also key to surfacing our value of
language diversity. The reasonable hypothesis has also been presented
that the click rates are higher in other languages than English.

The legitimate counterargument is that the naïve link list does not
necessarily do the best job at this: by presenting the one or two
links that may be relevant to the user within a potentially (and
hopefully) very long column of foreign words in sometimes foreign
scripts, it's a reasonable hypothesis that users will not in fact
discover or understand the availability of -their- language, but
rather simply glance over the list.

Howie has presented the outlines of a new compromise approach: that by
presenting a limited number of links by default, we increase the
discoverability of the feature, while also limiting overall page
clutter. That's also just a hypothesis.

I would suggest the following approach:

1) That we return to the default-expanded state for now. If we want to
default-collapse again, we'll need some more compelling metrics that
demonstrate the actual benefits of doing so.

2) That we prototype the system above, or some variant thereof, define
key metrics of success, and A/B test it against the existing one,
provided the idea doesn't turn out to be obviously flawed.

I agree that this isn't the highest priority issue on the list of UX
fixes and changes, so by implementing 1), we can do 2) on a timeline
that makes sense without a false urgency.

The BlackBerry issue is indeed of greater importance. It only affects
a subset of BB models, apparently older ones from what I've seen.
Hampton, Tomasz and Ryan Lane have been working on getting VMs with
the BB simulators set up, so that we can a) debug Vector on different
BB versions, b) test the mobile redirect and mobile site on BB before
we enable a redirect. This was delayed by ops issues on the mobile
site, but I hope we'll get It sorted out next week.

For the record, I agree entirely that read-breakage of this type is a
critical, high priority bug.


On 6/5/10, Gregory Maxwell <gmaxwell at gmail.com> wrote:
> On Sat, Jun 5, 2010 at 3:37 PM, David Levy <lifeisunfair at gmail.com> wrote:
>> Sue Gardner wrote:
>>> Feedback is great, but it irritates me when people start using words
>>> like "stupid" -- that's what I was responding to.
>> Perhaps you misread the context.  Austin wrote the word "stupid" as a
>> hypothetical example of nonconstructive commentary that should be
>> avoided.  No one has hurled an insult.
> Moreover "feedback" can itself be perceived as an insult.
> Imagine that someone cleaning your office took your important
> paperwork and dumped it in a bin.  You complain— "Hey we need that
> stuff to be accessible!" and they retort  "Thank you for your
> _feedback_. We'll consider it during our future cleaning plans".
> We're not just providing feedback here. We're collectively making a
> decision, as we've always done, thank you very much.
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Erik Möller
Deputy Director, Wikimedia Foundation

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