If you’ve ever tried to upload a file to Wikimedia Commons, you may have grown frustrated. Our new upload wizard aims to make it easier to contribute multimedia works to Wikimedia projects, and the first test results look promising.

Wikimedia Commons is the media library associated with Wikipedia; it is a central repository for all Wikimedia projects, and any media file shared there can be used in any Wikipedia page in any language. Wikimedia Commons is curated by a multilingual community and recently reached 7 million files.

Wikimedia Commons relies on MediaWiki, the same software that powers Wikipedia. Because MediaWiki was primarily developed for text-based content like Wikipedia articles, contributing multimedia works has always been a challenge.

In July 2009, the Ford Foundation awarded a $300,000 grant to the Wikimedia Foundation to improve the tools and workflows related to multimedia participation. The following Multimedia usability project started in October with a phase of preliminary research, and we worked with the Wikimedia community to identify the key issues and design solutions.

Over the past few months, Neil Kandalgaonkar (NeilK) has been implementing the interface we designed. The result is a prototype upload wizard that we’re happy to share now with the community.

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Screenshot of the Upload wizard

We recently conducted a User experience study, both to evaluate the current upload interface and to make a first check on our prototype. Our first results look promising and show a clear improvement over the current interface (watch the videos); we’re hoping to share the full videos in the coming weeks. We’ve also taken into account the informal feedback already provided by the first community testers.

The prototype isn’t finished yet, but we feel it’s important to continue to include the Wikimedia community in the ongoing development of our tool. We would like to invite you to test the prototype, read the Questions & Answers page, and share your comments and questions on the feedback page (after checking the list of existing bugs and improvements we’re already working on).

We thank in advance every user who will help us provide better tools and interfaces for the Wikimedia contributors. The prototype is located at http://commons.prototype.wikimedia.org.

Guillaume Paumier, Multimedia Usability Team