Wikipedia Preview

Wikipedia Preview allows you to provide context from Wikipedia about words or phrases on any website.

It lets you show a popup card with a short summary from Wikipedia when a reader hovers over a link. It is available as a standalone JavaScript component for any website, as a WordPress Plugin, and an R package for use with R Markdown documents & websites.



When readers navigate in and out of a webpage through interacting with several hyperlinks, they can easily lose context of what they were reading in the first place. Content sites would like their readers to read and engage with their content and understand it without having to get contextual information elsewhere. Wikipedia Preview can solve this problem for content providers by allowing readers to have concise and visual contextual information from Wikipedia within a content provider’s mobile properties - website or webapp.

The Page Previews feature on Wikipedia was created to solve the problem of context switching for desktop readers. This feature extends that functionality to external 3rd party sites. The first phase will focus on building a mobile led experience with partners whose primary readers are in emerging markets.

Wikipedia Preview would allow Wikimedia project content available as contextual information on 3rd party sites. The feature will not be restricted to only showing the first sentences of a Wikipedia article, it will be as diverse as showing information from sister projects which could be images, definitions or even reading much more of an article directly on the content provider’s website.

This feature is not new. It was discussed when page previews launched in 2018. Internal staff and volunteers have created similar functionality in chrome extensions, slack integrations and wordpress plugins in their personal capacity as volunteers.

The Inuka team is taking on this work as one of the ways to expose our project content to readers in emerging markets. We see this product as a way of moving away from the traditional notion of single monolithic articles and moving towards more modular and contextual learning. Wikipedia Preview on partner websites would allow their readers to gain context while reading their pages and:

  • Help people gain contextual knowledge from Wikipedia without necessarily clicking through to Wikipedia
  • Learn more on Wikipedia with the option being available to read more on Wikipedia

Goals & Objectives

  • Increase reach of Wikipedia content in Emerging Markets as part of the goal to become the essential infrastructure of free knowledge
  • Partner with sites in emerging markets whose readers would benefit from contextual knowledge from Wikipedia

Assumptions & Hypothesis

  • Displaying Wikipedia content on 3rd party sites would; grow the ecosystem of interacting with Wikipedia content on the internet and drive awareness and using Wikipedia for contextual information

Design Research

Wikipedia Preview Design Research Report

The Wikipedia preview plugin research was conducted in September to November of 2023 and in partnership with Hureo Research and the support of the Design Research team, Eli Asikin-Garmager and Bethany Gerdemann. The research investigates the user experience of Wikipedia Preview from the perspective of website owners and readers of websites with the plugin enabled.

Findings from the research uncovered key areas of improvement by observing users interact with the tool and asking them specific questions about their experience. Below is a tabulated summary of the main discoveries from this research. The Inuka team has prioritized the feedback for action starting January 2024. You can track the progress of the action items in this ticket.

User Type Research observation and participants' feedback Completed Tasks
New Site owners:
  • [Research observation] New site owners struggled to locate the preview option on the menu after installation of the plugin.
  • They wanted more styling choices to be made available such as the ability to change the font size, style of the link, pop up box size, dark mode to suit the site.
  • Wanted the ability to style the pop-up box.
Existing Site owners:
  • Existing site owners expressed that other language Wikipedia were not as rich as English Wikipedia.
  • They weren't unaware they could customize the UI, although it was included in the FAQ section.
  • They wondered if having the preview had any positive or negative SEO implications.
  • They wanted more styling choices, such as the ability to change the font size, style of the link, pop-up box size, and dark mode to suit the site.
  • They wanted the ability to style the pop-up box.
  • [Research observation] Readers couldn’t differentiate preview links from normal hyperlinks.
  • [Research observation] They found it hard to discover preview links on either mobile or desktop.
  • They also wanted the preview pop-up box increased.
  • “Continue Reading” CTA on the preview pop-up was believed to take them to Wikipedia, but instead, it expanded further.

Feature Highlights

Wikipedia Preview mockups

Current Status

Fiscal year Milestones
2019-20 Q1 2019/2020
2020-21 Q1 2020/2021
  • Created a demo site to demonstrate how Wikipedia Preview (WP) works. The site shows how Wikipedia Preview works in multiple languages, both LTR and RTL. This experience is best seen on a mobile phone.

Q2 - 2020/2021

  • Wikipedia Preview now has a debug mode so that those who have it on their site can better troubleshoot if the product is working as intended.
  • The team updated Wikipedia Preview so that it prints the version number to the javascript console. This information will be useful when the team needs to receive feedback on issues that arise.

Q3 - 2020/2021

  • Created a demo site that supports multiple languages to show how Wikipedia Preview works. Try it out here The experience is designed for use on smartphones.

Q4 - 2020/2021

  • Released the first version enabling websites to integrate Wikipedia Preview on their sites
  • Received feedback from potential Wikipedia Preview users that a way to integrate it on WordPress would be useful
  • Began research on what it would take to build a WordPress plugin
  • Built the first version of the Wikipedia Preview WordPress plugin
2021-22 Q1 2021/2022



  • Released version 1.5.0. Including fixes for popup positioning and double-encoded links, both of which were issues reported on live sites. It also includes a banner asking site admins to give the plugin a rating on
2022-23 Q1-2022/2023
  • The marketing team created a video for Wikipedia Preview that will be added to the Wordpress plugin page to display how the tool can be used.


2023-24 Q1-2023/2024
  • Research efforts aimed at improving the site owners & readers experience with the plugin.



We collaborated with the regional partnerships team to secure partnerships for Wikipedia Preview for almost 1 year. These partners included:


2020 2021 2022 2023 (Jan-Aug)
Wikipedia Preview total weekly previews 491 30,008 163,264 236,082
Wikipedia Preview-referred pageviews 30 724 2026 7,754
Wikipedia Preview clickthrough rate (average) 5.2% 2.5% 1.2% 3.4%



We've actioned direct feedback from partners and wordpress plugin site owners regarding certain features and functionalities; a lot of them have been documented and actioned below. On top of feedback, we have also used different metrics to guide which improvements to prioritise on the product.

1. Improve Onboarding & Feedback experience on the wordpress page

2. Improve Plugin Embedding & Reading Experiences

Lessons Learnt


1. Product Market Fit: the slow and steady increase in previews and page views over the last 2+ years indicate that the product remains useful and would benefit from further improvements on the readers & site-owner /partner experience. This work has now been prioritised for 2023/24.

Status Updates