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Add empty state (aka presults) to search to help people discover more knowledge
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Description

Description

There are a number of ways people can discover knowledge on Wikipedia (by "discover" I mean: finding stuff they didn't come with an intention of finding). The Main page offers several options for discovery. Similarly the "Explore" feeds on the apps offer such options. I think adding an empty state to the main search experience could be another valuable opportunity for content discovery.

Design

image.png (1×2 px, 1 MB)

Event Timeline

Apologies for my ignorance here. What does an empty state refer to in this context? (the suggestions look very not empty)

Apologies for my ignorance here. What does an empty state refer to in this context? (the suggestions look very not empty)

ha, good point. maybe a different term would be more clear. i've been referring to the menu shown in the mock as a search empty state because it shows up before you have typed anything into the search box. so the search box is empty, and in that state we show this menu : ) feel free to rename it however you'd like.

Oh duh. That makes a lot of sense now. Thanks for clarifying.
Probably shouldn't let me name things, though, since I'll just suggest something dumb like "presults"

alexhollender_WMF renamed this task from Add empty state to search to help people discover more knowledge to Add empty state (aka presults) to search to help people discover more knowledge.Feb 15 2022, 9:40 PM

...since I'll just suggest something dumb like "presults"

lol that's too good, had to add it to the task title

during our team offsite @cjming and myself made a quick prototype of this idea (link to prototype):

some notes & questions:

  • could results be personalized (based on past searches, or pages you have looked at)?
  • topical / google doodle / e.g. International women’s day
  • would everyone see the same thing?
  • how might different wikis curate this?
  • top trending searches vs. top viewed pages? is there a difference?
  • see what's trending in other parts of the world
  • links to other projects, or other language versions of Wikipedia
  • random article button?

To add to the suggestions, some of the existing features in other WMF extensions might be useful and they can be reused:

  • Nearby feature from MobileFrontend: Entry point to discover topics near your location to read or edit.
  • Related articles from RelatedArticles: The original related articles cards are pinned at the bottom of the page, this can increase discoverability of related pages that users might already be interested in.

Some suggestions (expanded from https://www.mediawiki.org/w/index.php?title=Talk:Reading/Web/Desktop_Improvements&oldid=5473041#The_search_widget).

On Wikipedia, I think that the the presults could be as follows:

  • Featured article with 1 article
  • The most popular articles yesterday (as far as I know, for today is impossible to know) with 3 articles (in the right upper corner a button that links to https://pageviews.wmcloud.org/topviews/?project=en.wikipedia.org&platform=all-access&date=yesterday&excludes=)
  • Topical articles (with a better name, of course) with 1-2 articles (these articles would be related to current events, commemorations, holydays and so on, and the featured articles in this sections should be changeable only by administrators and other trusted users)
  • Random article with 1 random article (in the right upper corner a button that replace the shown article)
  • Related articles with 1–3 articles (if the reader enables the Nearby future, then the results of the Nearby feature could replace the results of Related articles)
  • Explore other projects could feature only 4 (or 5?) Wikimedia wikis at once; this issue could pe resolved by implementing a slide system that uses an arrow-based navigation system (there are 12 wikis at https://www.wikipedia.org/, so 3 slides with 4 wikis each should be enough)

Notes:

  • How do the articles shown in Topical articles and Featured article could be changed by community?
  • What should happen if the results from Nearby are repetitive, if the number of the results is too low?
  • What should happen if a certain article is shown multiple times at once (e.g. the article https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rodent is shown both in Featured article and Related articles, or the article https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leaning_Tower_of_Pisa is shown both in The most popular articles yesterday and Random article)?
  • The presults mentioned above would be OK for Wikipedias, but maybe not for other Wikimedia wikis. For Wikinews, it would be great to feature the most recent news, and the Nearby feature would be very good for Wikivoyage...

P.S. IMHO, a future round of feedback related to presults would be great.

P.P.S. In the search widget, there could be a technical wheel button for changing the settings available (the advanced search and the namespaces) on Special:Search (maybe the button opens a mini-window). But I guess that this would be another task.