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Wikisource ebook export design: Brief and concepts
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Problem statement

Once books are proofread and validated pages are created for them in the main namespace. The pages in the main namespace are:

  • *First few pages* of the book containing the front matter and table of contents
  • Sub-pages used for the chapters and sections of the book
  • For multi-volume works the page in the main space lists all the volumes serving as an index for the complete work

More info on T256710: Wikisource ebook export research: Formatting and templates

Technically WSExport can work on any of these pages. WSExport exports all the pages that the main page links out too and then puts them together in a single ebook. Since it can work on any of these three pages there are two problems:

  • People get confused and download just a section or a chapter when they wanted the whole book
  • If someone tries to download a multi-volume work, instead of trying to create multiple books WSExport tries to make a single large work and fails because it can’t handle the number of pages in such a work

From our usability tests (T256708: Wikisource ebook research: How readers currently download books) we discovered that people had a hard time discovering how to download a book. A clearer UI element is needed to ensure that readers can reliably download books. It is also clear that not all pages in the main namespace can be the starting point for WSExport. While it *does work* on all pages that is most often not what the user needs.

The usability test also showed us that users aren't always sure which file format they need and they often picked the wrong one just because that is the one that they were familiar with.

Some other ebook websites and a few language Wikisources have better discoverability and guidance around this:


Once a book is complete, editors also check to see if it is exports reliably. They also know which page to enter into WSExport. A template — maybe a variation of the {{header}} template — to show clear download links to the work.

Editors would add this template only

  1. to the pages that one would want to download. For example on single volumes instead of on the multi-volume
  2. only on works that are complete and have been tested for exports.

The template should include:

  • Basic metadata about the book
    • Title
    • Author
    • Date
  • Cover (either from the scans or generated)
  • Download links
    • EPUB (e-book readers)
    • MOBI (kindle)
    • PDF
    • Plain text (Maybe?)

Some initial sketches:

  • How can we make the choice easier for the user?
    • Should we only display one download button that gives the most common file format, and have a dropdown with more options and guidance?
  • Are the EPUB, MOBI, PDF icons recognizable? Should we incorporate those?

Event Timeline

Prtksxna renamed this task from Wikisource ebook export design: Breif and concepts to Wikisource ebook export design: Brief and concepts.Jun 30 2020, 5:18 AM
Prtksxna created this task.
Prtksxna removed a project: Epic.Jul 1 2020, 5:15 AM
Prtksxna updated the task description. (Show Details)Jul 14 2020, 2:57 AM
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ifried added a subscriber: ifried.Jul 21 2020, 12:27 AM

@Prtksxna This looks great! Let's also discuss this a bit more in our 1:1 tomorrow, just so I can understand the context, expectations, and next steps of this ticket a bit better. For example, do we plan to test out the three different mockups via usability tests? Overall, I think you have laid out great points, which are backed up by research. Looking forward to digging into this a bit more with you tomorrow :)

Comments from @Pginer-WMF from our 1:1:

• Downloading from Wikisource seems an important enough feature that it should be part of the UI
• Not sure if it is a good idea to pass this along to the community
• Could this be incorporated in the process of making a book main page? That would make it easier for editors to add it.
• What is preventing us from differentiating the different pages? For eg: If someone is about to download a chapter, can we tell them? And give them an option to download the full book?
• Is there a solution that'd work for 80% of the pages and rest of the pages (for eg multi-volume works) require something extra (edge-case conditions)?

SGill added a subscriber: SGill.Aug 5 2020, 4:17 PM

This looks pretty great to me. I personally think that the third option i.e. to have a little explanation around what Epub, Mobi and PDFs mean will be really helpful.

Adding an option to download Text only might be really useful as well. I also like the idea to manually add the template in completed texts after an editor confirms that it exports correctly. How would this template fit better with Wikisource design is something to figure out.

Perhaps, the option to download from the sidebar can still be included on every page.