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Make the page visible in the background when the lightbox is open
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There have been several requests to make MediaViewer look like a popup which is on top of a page, instead of looking like an application that completely replaces the page. (This could be done by making the overlay transparent, or reducing its size so there is a border area where the underlying page is visible.)

The advantage of this is that the current lightbox design feels disconnected from the article; the user has no visual clues which would suggest they are still on Wikipedia. (Also, it has been suggested that the application-like UX gives users the wrong idea about how history navigation should behave.) The disadvantage is a more cluttered media viewing experience.

Some related discussion:

Version: unspecified
Severity: normal
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Event Timeline

bzimport raised the priority of this task from to Needs Triage.Nov 22 2014, 3:32 AM
bzimport added a project: MediaViewer.
bzimport set Reference to bz69582.
bzimport added a subscriber: Unknown Object (MLST).

Providing an uncluttered experience was one of the core goals of MediaViewer, so this is unlikely to happen unless someone can show convincing proof for the superiority of this approach, but we should at least have a ticket about it so that discussion can be centralized.

Thanks for opening this report. I strongly support this change, no matter how it will look in the end (very good ideas are already explained above).

I have heard and read this many times in all kinds of discussions from all types of users, from experienced authors to casual readers. The main problems, as far as I can identify them, are:

  1. The users feel lost. They don't understand where they are now. Sure, unexperienced users don't expect to be on Commons, but they are still confused. They feel like they left Wikipedia. The Viewer does not look like it's part of Wikipedia. That's why the [x] button in the upper right does not make sense to these users. It does not look like a popup, so they don't understand they can close the Viewer like a popup. They try to go back (and get confused because the browser history contains all slideshow clicks). Some users even close the browser window.

The original Lightbox[2] avoids basically all problems the Viewer haves. The page is still visible in the background. Users can feel (due to the animation) and see they never left the page. Scrolling still works. The browser zoom still works. No blur effect that makes loading actually feel _slower_ instead of hiding it (yes, this should be a separate report). The click region to go back to the page is the largest click region on screen: the whole background can be clicked.

  1. The Viewer "rips" the images out of the context of the article and therefor "misses the point: the purpose of an image in an article is to illustrate a point in the surrounding text"[2], to quote just one of many examples. Making it obvious that the viewer is part of the original article would not solve this problem completely, but it would make it much less of an issue.


Changing how the history behaves is bug 62266.

Gilles subscribed.

Mass-removing the Multimedia tag from MediaViewer tasks, as this is now being worked on by the Reading department, not Editing's Multimedia team.

TheDJ subscribed.

I don't think this is ever happening. And the current UI is much more familiar than the original 'replacement filepage' that had issues with page history and hotkeys etc.