Multimedia Usability Project Underway

Some new faces have joined the Foundation’s multimedia usability project, and important developments are underway to improve uploading and sharing of multimedia materials on Wikimedia’s projects.

We are excited that Guillaume Paumier, Product Manager of the Ford multimedia usability project , has moved from Toulouse, France and joined the Wikimedia usability team at our San Francisco office. We are also excited that Neil Kandalgaonkar has joined the multimedia usability project as a software developer. Neil brings in rich technical background from major social networking sites such as Flickr and Upcoming.org.

The multimedia usability project will focus on the following three areas:

  • Simplify and streamline the media uploading process to Wikimedia Commons
  • Create a staging area where incomplete work can be reviewed and amended
  • Integrate interwiki uploading so that uploads from Wikimedia projects are directed to Commons (the binary repository for all Wikimedia projects) seamlessly, and support moving of existing files from Wikimedia projects to Commons

These focuses were determined based on the discussion at the multi-media usability meeting in Paris with active Wikimedia Commons contributors and the objective of the Ford grant to increase participation to Wikimedia Commons.

We have a lot of ideas and features we would like to improve, but our resources are limited; we need to prioritize and focus on a few core changes. In order to accomplish various aspects of the usability of Wikimedia Commons, collaboration with the volunteer contributor community and partnership with our global chapters will be vital to achieve successful results. The multi-media usability meeting in Paris sponsored by Wikimedia France was immensely valuable to set the groundwork for this project. Wikimedia Deutschland is leading an initiative in the development of multi lingual search so that rich internationalized content can be retrieved by a global audience.

Guillaume has been actively publishing his initial research work, the survey result, user interviews and domain research to the multimedia hub of the usability wiki. He is also working on the initial mock-ups of simplified user work flow for uploading media files to Commons. Have a look and post your feedback on the discussion page.

We are also working with Michael Dale to integrate an Add-Media-Wizard into the enhanced Wikimedia project toolbar which is currently offered as a part of the usability beta. Add-Media-Wizard allows users to search relevant media files from Wikipedia articles and insert into the article without leaving the editing window. Michael’s work is already available as a gadget, but the plan is to offer to wider audience by integrating into user preferences. To have a sneak peek of this feature, you can visit the usability sandbox. Just click the image icon in the toolbar, and you can experience the intuitive way of including media assets. Please be aware that the sandbox is an experimental area, so the condition of the software changes constantly.

If you’re online and have access to IRC you can join the multimedia usability team for ‘office hours,’ where we’ll be available live to take questions and discuss ongoing work around the usability project. The next office hours take place Thursday, February 4 at 9AM to 10AM PDT (16:00 to 17:00 UTC). Visit the IRC Office Hours planning page for more info and for assistance in joining the conversation.

More usability improvements are coming! Stay tuned.

Naoko Komura, Program Manager, Wikimedia Usability Inititative

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