The link input widget should have separate fields for the link target and the displayed text.
From various comments at bug 48789
There are essentially two ways to create a link:
#2 You click the link button first, enter the target and get out of the dialog,
at which point the link text (identical to chosen link target) will be entered.
With this method, the user will often have to adjust the link's text
afterwards, for instance in the case of plurals or if the target article is
disambiguated with parentheses. But it is not clear to the user that adjusting
the link text is safe and won't create a broken link; indeed the crucial
distinction between link text and link target remains obscure. (Changing a
singular to a plural is especially difficult since editing links at the end is
I have checked the workflow of entering links in LibreOffice, Gmail and Word;
they are all basically the same as in the Visual Editor, with two major
a) the dialog popup window has a clear OK button, and [bug 52462]
b) the dialog popup window contains separate clearly labeled boxes for the link
text and the link target.
I believe both of these changes make a lot of sense.
An English Wikipedia user comments that the current behaviour of the input widget is not intuitive at all:
"I clicked the link tool while not focused on any text, to try and add a new
link. I got a largely empty box with no instructions, and the next word in the
article highlighted within the box. I fiddled with it a few times, and still
don't know if typing in the box A. changes the text of the link. B. allows me
to select more words. C. Changes what is linked to, or D. is followed by
another, nearly identical box for a secondary function"
To me this is further evidence that we need two boxes: one to enter the link
target and one to enter the link display text. The second box would default to
the same as the link for internal links and for external links either (ideally)
the page title or (less ideally but probably easier) the filename sans
See also bug 51438
Adam Cuerden comments again on the suggestion to have separate boxes for link
target and link title:
"Yes [that would be better], but do make sure it's on the same page. Don't give
one dialogue, then a second. Also, if one of the boxes is left blank, it should
be auto-completed from the other box. "
For the second part of the comment they mean that if someone gives a link
target (e.g. Fish) and doesn't specify any title, produce a link: [[Fish]]
If someone gives a link title (e.g. Hedgehog) but doesn't specify a target,
produce the link: [[Hedgehog]].