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Create an onboarding experience for the Reply tool
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Description

Prompted by the comments shared here, this task is about creating an onboarding experience for the Reply tool to help people, across experience levels, form a clear and accurate mental image of how the tool works.

Components to introduce/teach

What follows is preliminary list and is subject to change as we learn more.[1][2]"

"Core" components
This category of components should include those that represent the fundamental mechanics of the tool. Caveat: this list may vary depending on experience level. [3]

  • The tool will automatically sign the comments you post using it.
  • The tool will automatically indent the comments you post using it.
  • The tool has two modes: a mode for writing in source and a mode for writing in rich text.
  • Type @ to notify someone specific

"Tertiary" components
This category of components should include those that help people define the potential [and limitations] of the tool. These would not be included in an initial onboarding flow (read: after clicking a "Reply" link for the first time). Instead, they'd likely be presented as tool tips or feedback messages when someone takes pre-defined action.

  • Link to a more-info, help, or discussion page.
  • Types of wikitext the tool does not support (e.g. tables)

Open questions

  • 1. What "foundational" aspects/details about the Reply tool contribute most to peoples' understanding of it and confidence in it? How do these aspects/details vary between people have lots of experience contributing to Wikipedia and people who are newer to the project?
    • Informed by two usability tests and ~4 months of use as a Beta Feature at our four partner Wikipedias, it seems the below are the most important concepts for Junior and Senior Contributors to understand in order to successfully use the Reply Tool and "get the most out of it." See T253434#6334269 for more details.
      • Junior Contributors:
        • 1. This is a tool for responding to comments posted on talk pages
      • Senior Contributors:
        • 1. This a tool for responding to comments posted on talk pages
        • 2. This tool will automatically indent the comments you post with it
        • 3. This tool will automatically sign the comments you post with it
        • 4. This tool includes functionality for searching for and pinging other people
  • 1A Once those aspects/details have been defined, what is the most effective sequence for introducing/teaching those concepts?
  • 1B. What is the best way to teach those concepts?
  • 2. What "tertiary" concepts/functions are important to explicitly communicate in the interface?
  • 2A. What is the best way to teach those concepts?
  • 3. What is the right balance between guiding (e.g. a walkthrough) and self-guided discovery (e.g. tooltips, hints, etc. that are presented in context, in response to peoples' explicit actions)?

  1. T246190
  2. T246191
  3. Thank you to @Pelagic for helping to start this list.

Event Timeline

Task prioritization
With the Assumptions below in mind, we are NOT going to prioritize work on introducing an onboarding experience to the Reply Tool at this time.

Instead, we are going to focus on doing the following to learn the extent to which these Assumptions are accurate:

  • Evaluate the rate at which Junior Contributors successfully post the comments they start writing. This analysis will happen in T247139.
  • Evaluate the percentage of Senior Contributors who use the tool's pinging feature. This analysis will happen in T247139.
  • Monitor comments at mw.org from Senior Contributors for mentions of people being confused about how the tool handles signing and indenting.
  • 1. What "foundational" aspects/details about the Reply tool contribute most to peoples' understanding of it and confidence in it? How do these aspects/details vary between people have lots of experience contributing to Wikipedia and people who are newer to the project?

Assumptions
Informed by two usability tests [i][ii] and ~4 months of use as a Beta Feature at our four partner Wikipedias, it seems the below are the most important concepts for Junior and Senior Contributors to understand in order to successfully use the Reply Tool and "get the most out of it."
Junior Contributors:

  • 1. This is a tool for responding to comments posted on talk pages
  • 2. This tool has two input modes: source and visual

Senior Contributors:

  • 1. This a tool for responding to comments posted on talk pages
  • 2. This tool will automatically indent the comments you post with it
  • 3. This tool will automatically sign the comments you post with it
  • 4. This tool includes functionality for searching for and pinging other people

For Junior Contributors, the usability tests suggest they intuitively understand, without any instruction, the Reply Tool as a tool for responding to comments on talk pages.

For Senior Contributors, four month's of usage an on-wiki testing suggest [iii] the majority of them intuitively understand, without any onboarding [iv][v], the Reply Tool will: A) automatically sign the comments they post with it and B) automatically indent the comments they post with it.

We should note, it is NOT clear the extent to which Senior Contributors notice the tool's feature for searching for a pinging other users. We will have a better understanding of this by analyzing how the pinging feature is being used; this analysis will happen in T247139.

cc @iamjessklein


i.https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Talk_pages_project/replying#Version_1.0_prototype
ii. https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Talk_pages_project/replying#Version_2.0_prototype
iii. https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Topic:Vju7lfcav875rt8r
iv. The Reply Tool's position on the page shows the "level" at which the comment being drafted with it will be posted
v. The Reply Tool's source mode includes the person writing a comment's signature; the tool's visual mode will automatically inform people who attempt to manually sign the comments they are writing that the tool will do this for them automatically.

ppelberg updated the task description. (Show Details)