Date
22 May 2018
Page previews have been introduced in the English version of Wikipedia since last Tuesday, allowing users to aim the cursor over a blue link to read a preview of another page. Photo: Bloomberg
Page previews have been introduced in the English version of Wikipedia since last Tuesday, allowing users to aim the cursor over a blue link to read a preview of another page. Photo: Bloomberg

Wikipedia adds page previews for faster comprehension

Wikipedia has added a new feature to save users’ time and facilitate a better of understanding of the subject being searched.

Page previews have been introduced in the English version of Wikipedia since last Tuesday, Engadget reports, citing a blog post of Wikimedia Foundation, the non-profit organization that is running the online encyclopedia.

It was introduced to the German Wikipedia two weeks ago, and to hundreds of other versions of Wikipedia in stages over 2017.

Without the new feature, users would need to go to a highlighted link to “read the first few sentences” of another article and then return to the original article, Wikimedia said.

This step costs time and can hugely affect the user’s understanding of a topic, according to the blog post.

The new feature allows users to “hover [their] cursor over a blue link to read those first few sentences and see an image, if available”.

It saves the users the trouble of “[going] back and forth between articles”, or “[opening] multiple tabs to gain an understanding of a word or concept within the context of the subject they are reading”, Wikimedia said.

The Wikimedia Foundation undertook “extensive testing before deploying page previews” to the public, Engadget said.

A “negligible percentage” of users disabled the feature. However, the number of regular pageviews on the site slightly diminished, the report said.

While acknowledging that pageviews are an “important benchmark for understanding how Wikipedia is accessed”, the foundation stressed that “success is based on how we’re able to fulfill our free knowledge mission and make the Wikimedia sites more useful, relevant, and engaging for people around the world, even if it means our pageviews might go down as an effect”.

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