Wikiversity:Main page design changes

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Figure 1. Wikimedia project slogans.

Discuss redesign of the main page. See also: Talk:Main Page for ideas about leaving Wikiversity:Main Page as it is and using Main Page as a new entry point to Wikiversity for new visitors.

Prefatory note[edit]

This discussion is kept here as historical reference. There is now a learning project relating to main page design known as the main page learning project.

Summary (Dec-April)[edit]

During the past five months proposals have ranged from minor additions to the existing main page (such as adding a "collaboration of the month" section) to radical redesign and moving the main page back to the main namespace where it could function as a learning resource to introduce new visitors to Wikiversity. Also, there have been related discussions about changing the entire "introduction experience" for new visitors including updating the welcome template and shifting the high-level Wikiversity "content browsing interface" away from its bias towards a conventional college-level course catalog (for example, see Wikiversity:Pre-tertiary portal). Should the Main Page be a resource for new visitors that efficiently helps them understand Wikiversity?

Slogan[edit]

Another issue relevant to Main Page design arises from the slogan "set learning free" that is now on the main page (see Figure 1A) in a position similar to what is done at Wikipedia (Figure 1B). At Wikibooks, they just use their tagline "From Wikibooks, the open-content textbooks collection" (Figure 1C). Wikiversity does not have a tagline at MediaWiki:Tagline. Should we have one? It can remain on the Main Page or be suppressed from being displayed on the main page, as is done at Wikipedia. Figure 1D shows the Wikipedia tagline as seen on all pages except the Main Page. Also, another option is to put a slogan on the logo image that appears on the upper left corner of every wiki page as is done at Wikipedia and Wikibooks but not at Wikiversity (Figure 1E). Should Wikiversity add a slogan to the displayed logo? If so, could we then create a tagline and have the tagline displayed on the Main Page?

Browsing tools[edit]

Figure 2. Main content navigation links on the Main Pages of Wikipedia (A), Wikibooks (B) and Wikiversity (C). Click the image to enlarge.

The main page of a wiki must provide a way for people to navigate to the content pages of the wiki. Wikipedia has a small set of navigation links at the upper right corner of the Main Page and has a "Contents" link in the navigation sidebar (Figure 2A). Wikibooks has a large part of the Main Page devoted to a large group of content navigation links and uses a "Bookshelves" link in the navigation sidebar (Figure 2B). Wikiversity has a set of content navigation links on the main page that is heavily biased towards providing access to the course content of a university. Wikiversity uses a rather generic "Browse" link in the navigation sidebar (Figure 2C). Does Wikiversity need a new "top level" set of navigation links for that is less biased towards college-level content (see below)?

Browse our content: Preschool · Primary Education · Secondary Education · Tertiary Education · Lifelong Learning · Other portals
College level subject areas: Humanities · Physical Sciences · Life Sciences · Practical Arts and Sciences · Mathematics ·
Engineering and Technology · Interdisciplinary Studies · Social Sciences · Education · Media · Professions

Do we need to change the "Browse" link in the navigation sidebar to link to a page that will include major sections for pre-college-level content? Is the current browse page only of use for people interested in college-level content?

Proposals - December 2006 to April 2007[edit]

Two proposed (at freenode #wikiversity-en) ideas for the redesign are:

  • Most visitors to the Wikiversity main page are new to wiki and need help to understand what is going on at Wikiversity. The main page needs to be a resource for these new visitors. Supporting Wikiversity participants <-- ways to support the different types of people who visit Wikiversity.
  • It is time to have featured content on the main page with good examples that show what Wikiversity is about.
Learners and teachers.png
Another proposal -- KISS.
There should be two links -- Students Click Here, Teachers Click Here. They can even go to the same page, but I would venture a guess that if we add something like that, our click numbers would go up.
Of course, we have to have something useful on the click-through page ... perhaps a guide for learners and a guide for learning material preperation, respectively. Just a thought. Historybuff 07:54, 16 January 2007 (UTC)
Right now we have a link for "learners" that goes to Wikiversity:Learning goals and a link for "teachers" that goes to Wikiversity:Wikiversity teachers. Wikiversity:Wikiversity teachers needs to be updated or maybe switched to Wikiversity:School and university projects. --JWSchmidt 13:53, 16 January 2007 (UTC)
I'm not a guru in UI design, so take what I say with a grain of salt. The links are done in the "wiki way", which is what we are all used to. But what about people arriving who aren't wikiwise?
While we might get clicks from Wikipedia and sister projects, we shouldn't assume that everyone understands how a wiki works, or what all those links are. Right now, it's a SEA of links on that page. Even experienced users might be suffer an information overload attack.
If we have to pack so much info on the front page, and we can't twiddle the info, I'd suggest adding some icons (maybe animated) to draw the readers eye to the spot you highlighted.
Also, we should have it say "Students (Learners)", as newcomers might not make that association.
I can now edit the Main Page (ugh), but it was much better when it was locked for me -- since it gave me links to the real content pages. (Also, how do you get those cool screenshots?) Historybuff 17:48, 16 January 2007 (UTC)
I second Historybuff's proposal above - to 'stream' the Wikiversity Main Page for different people (or interests) - i.e. teachers and students. I know that in some ways we are trying to blur the distinctions between 'teacher' and 'student' - but we are also trying to be of assistance to people who come here with those self-roles in mind. My proposal for this would be to create a "Teachers' portal" and a "Students' portal" (to go alongside the "Community portal") - possibly also a "Researchers' portal". In these portals we would have links to a range of explanatory pages about Wikiversity, as well as activities to get started. Pages and portals would be kept as focused and simple as possible - especially the portals (and Main Page). Irregardless of whether we go with this idea, I think the Main Page needs to be simplified - with icons, colours, and boxes guiding the eye to the main points of Wikiversity: 1) what it is/does, 2) how you can use it, and 3) how you can get involved. I don't think the Main Page needs a radical redesign - just reducing the "sea of links" effect, and focused more on drawing in visitors to where they are likely to be interested and motivated to find out more, and hopefully get involved. Cormaggio beep 14:25, 27 February 2007 (UTC)
I support the idea of simple pages for the Main Page, Portal:Students, Portal:Teachers and Portal:Researchers. I'm skeptical about the "hopefully get involved" part. The vast majority of visitors to Wikiversity arrive, visit a few pages and leave without even thinking about participation. This is like having a school where you walk new students through the library and say, "now hopefully they will start to read". Maybe we need to "force" people to make their first page edit, even if it means tricking them into doing it. --JWSchmidt 16:45, 27 February 2007 (UTC)
I think simplifcation would be a good thing—it feels a little cluttered right now. Maybe just a UI update would help… The Jade Knight 11:05, 7 July 2007 (UTC)
A way forward might be to just start weeding a bit; there are, for example, 5 links on the Main page to Browse! I'd also suggest that we do try to avoid the strictly 'traditional' categories here; there's no point is saying that we'd like to blur the lines, then just go and redraw them again because we can't think of anything else -- I'd suggest that a Main page act more as a way to facilitate peoples information seeking behaviour - which includes more of a 'what do you want to do here?' than a 'who are you?'. I, for example, don't consider myself a student in this environment, rather more of a constant 'learner', i'm certainly not a teacher (I'm somewhat skeptical of the ability to 'teach' in this environment anyways) and at best I may be a 'mentor' or a 'guide' if called upon to do so, and often I might even be more inclined to act as a sort of 'staff' member -- would that be a portal, Portal:Staff? --BrentSimpson 08:11, 1 April 2007 (UTC)
Streamlining would be good -- 5 browse links seems like overdoing it. I think the use of white space is a bit lost too, we shouldn't disregard that either. We're trying to make things clearer and easier for first time visitors.
While "forcing" people to edit might be a noble goal, we do want quality contributions, not just graffiti, which is what I'd expect from tricking people. I read a piece on planet wikimedia about the usability of the MediaWiki software -- maybe that might be a good learning project? I dunno. Historybuff 06:24, 7 April 2007 (UTC)
At the same time, I think the Browse link is one of the very most important links at Wikiversity. Every use should a) know exactly where to find it, and b) know what it means. When I first got here, it took me a while to figure out that the word Browse was synonymous with "find out what content Wikiversity offers" (more or less). The search feature is fairly useless ATM (though I've been creating some redirects lately to try to help with this. Everyone should make lots and lots of redirects…). The Jade Knight 11:05, 7 July 2007 (UTC)

Example[edit]

What is Wikiversity for?

Why is Wikiversity cool?

  • Its FREE for everyone, and always will be!
  • Its freely editable by anyone (There is no limit to the greatness of Wikiversity)

How can I get involved with Wikiversity?