Today, we’re launching a new upload wizard in beta phase to make it easier to contribute multimedia works to Wikimedia Commons. “Commons” is the free, collaborative media repository associated with all Wikimedia projects, including Wikipedia. Although Commons contains over 7 million images, videos and sounds, uploading a file has long been an arduous path reserved to the most adventurous souls. The new upload wizard aims to make the uploading experience simpler and more pleasant for all users.

The upload wizard allows multiple files to be uploaded at the same time.

The upload wizard allows multiple files to be uploaded at the same time.

The new upload tool consists of a step-by-step wizard guiding the user through the successive stages of the process, rather than presenting a huge complicated form. It allows the user to upload multiple files at once, and grant permission for them in batch.

The wizard integrates our brand new illustrated licensing tutorial to help new participants understand the basics of copyright and free licenses. Since its publication, the tutorial has been translated and localized into about eighteen languages, and more are underway.

This new feature is one of the main outcomes of the Multimedia Usability project, a one-year project funded by the Ford Foundation, aiming to increase multimedia participation on Wikimedia websites. Although the grant is now officially over, the Wikimedia Foundation will fund subsequent development of the wizard to make it more robust and feature-rich.

We unveiled a prototype version of the wizard a few months ago, and we’ve got a lot of useful, constructive feedback from Commons testers. Since then, many bugs have been fixed, and the interface is much cleaner. The other main accomplishment has been the development of a private temporary holding area for files missing mandatory information.

The upload wizard is available in beta version as an additional uploading option. It’s far from perfect, and there are still bugs and missing features. But we do think it will provide a useful alternative to participants who want to use it and help us improve it.

The new wizard will eventually become the default uploading option on Commons, but it won’t replace the regular upload system until it provides a satisfying (and hopefully improved) coverage of the use cases currently supported by the “old” one.

You’re warmly invited to try the new system (you’ll need an account on Commons) and report issues you encounter with it. Please be sure to save your time by checking the Questions & Answers page and the list of open issues first.

If your issue hasn’t been reported yet, you can enter it directly in our tracker, or leave a note on the feedback page.

Since this concludes the Multimedia usability project, we’ll publish a full project report shortly for people interested in the details. In the meantime, you may be interested in two behind-the-scenes articles about the licensing tutorial: one by our illustrator, Michael Bartalos, and one by myself, focusing on the collaboration with the Wikimedia community.

Guillaume Paumier, Product Manager − Multimedia usability