Improving navigation on this wiki

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The idea behind this page is to provide a space where people can discuss and develop specific ways in which navigation can be improved.

Hotcat

If you wish to use categories frequently it is useful to enable Hotcat:

  • Open preferences
  • Open gadgets tab
  • Tick Hotcat box
  • Save

When you return to WMUK WIki pages you will find that there is a facility for adding, changing or removing categories at the bottom of the page. This means that you can work on categories without going in to edit mode. You will also find that Hotcat will offer existing categories as you start inserting a character string. This can be useful to check whether there are existing categories which could be used before starting a new category.

See Wikipedia:HotCat for full explanation.

Structure

While the categorising of pages will help - and I also agree we need a review and mark up of dormant pages using a template - this doesn't address the structure issue for new users, unfamiliar with the wiki way of working. Do we need to a) Have a brief 'How to use this site' page linked to in the left hand navigation and b) Do we need to structure sections better, such as how membership and development are structured through a 'landing page' and 'subpages' as other pages on the wiki?

If people think this is a good idea, then we need volunteers to take forward? Similarly, if people *haven't* been categorising new pages correctly, then we need to raise awareness of how easy this is AND make a concerted effort to go back through pages and do this :) Katherine Bavage (WMUK) (talk) 12:05, 11 December 2012 (UTC)

I mostly agree with Katherine but I think the idea of structure misses something slightly... or at least could be interpreted as such.
I don't think we should try to make the wiki hierarchical.
I do think it would be helpful to have a number of portals that link to appropriate content. This is basically what Katherine said but without the hierarchical implications of 'subpage'.
Two examples of portals on en.Wikipedia:
I agree on the importance of good categorisation.
Yaris678 (talk) 14:37, 13 December 2012 (UTC)
Just to add that I agree with this - no problems with content being seen as equally important, just needs pages to gather linked content together. Katherine Bavage (WMUK) (talk) 10:30, 20 December 2012 (UTC)
Pages that are no longer active can be marked with Template:Historical. There's a page at Wikimedia:About (which is linked to in the footer of every page) that could be improved with more information, and maybe added to the sidebar. My favourite metric with website structure is how many clicks are needed by the user to get from one page that they're interested in to the next - for general browsing this is significantly helped by having a good set of links in the sidebar, for more focused browsing it's helped by having templates at the header or footer of the page, and navigation is always helped by wikilinking page text as appropriate. Of course, my second favourite metric is how many links are on each page, which should be kept to a reasonable number (not too many, not too few. ;-) ). I have to say that I've never found categorisation to be much use in navigating between pages compared with wikilinks, but on the other hand I know that others find them to be very useful... Thanks. Mike Peel (talk) 20:44, 13 December 2012 (UTC)
When even Richard Symonds cannot find a page and when many of the people I ask admit to navigating through 'recent changes' or 'my contributions' we have a problem. Three things worry me a lot. One - duplicate and dead pages causing confusion. Two, so many pages that the most important ones get neglected and become out of date. Three that anyone who is not an aficionado can never find out the information they need about us. If we are to grow and bring in new people we need to have a much better organised shop window. 46.65.255.161 12:03, 14 December 2012 (UTC)
I think this is agreed. Richard Nevell has been improving categorization on the office wiki (mainly so far I think) & I hope will help here too. Stevie did a report addressing these issues which essentially suggested moving a lot of stuff to a more conventional website with professional design, which I think is part of the answer but gave up on this wiki too soon imo, especially for the community as opposed to outsiders. I use both links and categories, & categories have the advantage that you ought to be able to start from the main caregory & find anything, but clearly can't at the moment. We need to move lots of stuff to historical by year categories to declutter them, not just templating them. If anyone wants to make a proposal improving the current category structure, which has grown up somewhat haphazardly, I think that would be useful. We are generating a lot more pages now, and links, searches & menus won't be enough. Johnbod (talk) 12:22, 21 December 2012 (UTC)

Taking this forward

I'd like to see us progress this together - but interested in how. Perhaps we could add to the remit of the Technology Committee? Or we could create an on-wiki planning page to discuss what areas we feel need to be gathered together, and then ask staff to work with the site admins to create the content based on this? I think there is nothing wrong with setting up a first meeting of the Tech committee to part-discuss policy and part spend a couple of hours with attendees blitzing the UK wiki with appropriate templates and categorisations - this could happen at any point separate to any work to collect/collate links in portal pages? Katherine Bavage (WMUK) (talk)