Portal Project

The Portal is a project within the Discovery Department to update and change the portal page to better serve Wikipedia visitors.

Our early efforts in this project are to measure how visitors use the portal page, learning about user expectations, and determining how we can serve up better and more relevant content. Once the Discovery Portal team has gathered data from test and have analyzed it in-depth for success, we'll promote updates to the portal page in production.

Rationale edit

The Wikimedia Discovery Portal Team wants to improve the experience of visitors to the portal page and help them get to the information they are looking for as fast as possible. The portal page gets around 14 million daily page views daily, which is (very roughly) 3% of our total pageviews.

To better serve this large audience, we want to make sure that this page is easy to understand and use. We want to increase the usability of the search text box, so more people will run a search query and get to their preferred article faster. We want to decrease the number of people who leave the page without taking any action. We also want to better understand what people expect from this page so we can address their needs. In the future, we want to serve language, location and time specific content on this page too.

Goals edit

  • Decrease bounce rate on the portal page
  • Increase amount of searches and clickthroughs on the search results
  • Increase clickthrough to the top 10 language wikis
  • Enhance and promote discovery of languages that are not in the top 10
  • Increase clickthrough to sister (other) Wikimedia projects

Current Quarter Goals edit

See Wikimedia Engineering's current quarter goals for the team (for 2016-17 Q1):
Current quarter goals: edit
  • make the portal a site for exploring new and open content on Wikimedia sites.
Upcoming quarter goals (2016-17 Q2): edit
  • for the next few months, the Portal team will take a hiatus to focus on other projects within the Discovery department. We will continue to update the page with article stats and translations along with small bug fixes and minor enhancements. If there is something that needs to be addressed, please add it to our backlog on our sprint board. We're planning on resuming work on the portal in late Q3 and Q4 (March - July 2017).

Upcoming A/B Testing edit Portal A/B Testing Page.

We have several upcoming A/B tests planned for the near future. They are documented at Portal A/B testing.

Note: The text and mocks that were previously displayed on this page have been moved and updated in the page linked above. This is to avoid any confusion of having mocks in several places and not knowing which is more correct or up-to-date.

A/B Testing: January - March 2016 edit

The Discovery Portal team performed a test En:A/B testing on between January 13 - 20, 2016 to measure if the proposed improvements are beneficial to our users (Phabricator ticket). The findings of these tests can be found on Commons. This was an A/B test to determine the impact of various user experience improvements to the Wikipedia portal ( aimed at increasing the rate at which users click-through to our other Wiki projects. Specifically, we looked at increasing the size and prominence of the search box while pairing images and Wikidata metadata with each search result (see the fourth visual mockup below). We found evidence that the combination of these elements results in a 1.7% to 5.5% higher clickthrough rate. Put another way, that's roughly an increase of 300,000 to 1.3 million pageviews a day into our projects - a solid improvement. Absent non-JavaScript support (which we are working on), we recommend the improvement be deployed to the production portal, tentatively scheduled for March 2016. (Update: this was released to production on March 10, 2016)

Another test was run to detect and re-arrange the language links around the globe, based on detection of the user's browser's preferred language setting while adding a localized "The Free Encyclopedia" phrase under the Wikipedia wordmark (Phabricator ticket). This test started on March 22, 2016 and will run until approximately April 5, 2016 when we will start analyzing the results.

Analysis work: 2016 edit

For more information about how our data analysis team is working on this project please refer to: Research: Portal experiments.

Portal Updates: January - March 2016 edit

Portal Updates: April - September 2016 edit

Browsers Supported edit

We will be following the guidelines listed on MediaWiki for Compatibility. For example, this will mean that the JavaScript that we have on the Portal page will be targeted for IE9 and newer, while IE8 and below would have a basic CSS experience.

Portal Deployment edit

The portals repository is deployed as a submodule of the mediawiki-config repo. This submodule in this repo needs to be updated to reflect the latest commit.

cd /srv/mediawiki-staging && git pull && git submodule update portals

The portals are then deployed by executing the sync-portals script at the root of the submodule.

cd portals/

./sync-portals 'SWAT: [[gerrit:372118|Bumping portals to master (T128546)]]'

Ideas for the future of the Portal edit

Automation of Portal Updates edit

Now that we've modernized the portal page, we will wrap up the work by automating the statistics and translation updates for the portal. These updates are expected to take place on a weekly basis and will still require a human to approve the updates before it is released into production. There are quite a lot of tasks that need to be completed before this effort is done and the best way to view the progress is by visiting the epic ticket in Phabricator that captures the scope of the work we're doing. This work began in October (Q2 2017/18) and will be finished in December 2017.

See the automation documentation in Github

See also edit