Help Test Media Viewer

Media Viewer lets you browse larger images on Wikimedia sites.

We invite you to try out Media Viewer, a new tool for browsing multimedia content, which is now in beta on Wikipedia and other Wikimedia sites.

Today, viewing images on our sites can be a frustrating experience for casual users: when you click on a thumbnail in an article, you are taken to a separate page where the image is shown in medium size and surrounded with a lot of text information that can be confusing to readers.

Media Viewer aims to improve this viewing experience by showing images in larger size, as an overlay on the current page. To reduce visual clutter, all information is shown below the image, and can be expanded at a click of a button.

This new tool is being developed by the Wikimedia Foundation’s multimedia team and we now invite you to try out in beta version. We plan to gradually release this tool in coming months, starting with a few pilot tests, followed by wider deployments in the next quarter.

How it works

With Media Viewer, you can click on any image thumbnail to see it in large size, without visual clutter. You can see the file name and author credits at the bottom of the screen, and view more information in an expandable panel below the image.

You can also expand the image to full screen, for a more immersive experience, or browse through all images in an article or gallery by clicking on the next and previous arrows. The ‘Use this file’ tool will make it easier to share images with your community, add them to articles or download them for your own purposes, with full attribution to contributors.

User response so far suggests that Media Viewer provides a richer multimedia experience, right where users expect it. They tell us they can see the images more clearly, without having to jump to separate pages, and that the interface is more intuitive, offering easy access to images and metadata.

How you can help

Can you help us test Media Viewer in coming weeks? It’s already included in our “Beta Features” program, so you can try it out right away. Now that we’re planning to enable it more widely, your help is even more crucial to uncover issues and bugs we haven’t caught before.

You can test this tool on any Wikimedia site; for example, you can try it out on this test page. To enable Media Viewer, you first need to log in and click on the small ‘Beta’ link next to ‘Preferences’ in your personal menu; then check the box next to ‘Media Viewer’ and click ‘Save'; you will now be able to click on any thumbnail image to see it in the Media Viewer on that site . Before you start, be sure to read these testing tips.

Try out Media Viewer and let us know what you think on this discussion page. If you find any technical bugs, please report them on Bugzilla.

Over 12,000 beta testers have now enabled Media Viewer across wikis around the world. Here is an overview of the feedback they have kindly given us to help improve this tool. Many of their suggestions are now being implemented, as part of our current release plan.

Next steps

The next version of Media Viewer will support video, audio and other file formats.

We are now working on beta version v0.2 of Media Viewer, with a focus on a better user interface, faster image load, more file info and attributions, still images only, as well as improved ‘Use this file’ tools (e.g. share, embed, download). We aim to release this version gradually out of beta, starting with limited tests on a few pilot sites in coming weeks. Based on test results, we plan a wider release of Media Viewer v0.2 next quarter.

The next version v0.3 of Media Viewer will focus on supporting more file formats (e.g. slides, video, audio), as well as zooming on large images and adding plug-ins for developers. For a preview of what we’re considering, check our Media Viewer v0.3 goals and mockups.

In future releases, we also hope to provide a few tools to help users take action on the media they are viewing: for example, a user might want to thank the person who uploaded a file, or report issues about that file. To see how we propose to expand Media Viewer in coming years, check out this multimedia vision for 2016.

Technology

If you are a developer, you can learn more about the technology behind Media Viewer on these two extension pages: MultimediaViewer (the front-end code that delivers the main user experience) and CommonsMetadata (the back-end code that delivers the file info to the viewer). In coming weeks, we hope to add a variety of hooks, accessible via the usual mw.hook interface, to allow more customization of behavior in the MultimediaViewer extension through gadgets and other extensions.

For more information about this tool, visit its project overview page; you can also learn more about other multimedia projects we’re working at the Multimedia project hub.

Thanks

Multimedia Team members: Gilles, Mark, Fabrice, Gergo, and Aaron (left to right)

We’d like to take this opportunity to thank all the folks who made this project possible, including Gilles Dubuc, Pau Giner, Aaron Arcos, Keegan Peterzell, Brian Wolff, Jared Zimmerman, May Galloway, Bryan Davis, Brion Vibber, Rob Lanphier, Erik Moeller, Howie Fung and Tomasz Finc, to name but a few.

We’re also grateful to all the community members who helped create this feature, through a series of roundtable discussions held by video conference, in person and over IRC. If you would like to participate in future discussions, we invite you to join our multimedia mailing list.

We look forward to more collaborations with you in coming weeks. Your feedback is invaluable for improving Media Viewer, and providing a better experience to our users!

Best regards,

Fabrice Florin, Product Manager
Mark Holmquist, Software Engineer
Gergő Tisza, Software Engineer
on behalf of the Wikimedia Foundation’s Multimedia Team

Categories: Multimedia, Technology
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7 Comments on Help Test Media Viewer

Fabrice Florin 1 year

Hi Shobhit, tester and Subfader:

Thanks for your interest in testing Media Viewer, and sorry for not making it clearer where to test it. :)

As I already told Daniel below, you can try this tool on this testing page:
https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Lightbox_demo

Be sure to read these testing tips before you start:
https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Multimedia/About_Media_Viewer#How_can_I_help.3F

If you’re feeling adventurous, you can also test our latest work in progress on this (slower) beta site:
http://en.wikipedia.beta.wmflabs.org/wiki/Lightbox_demo

The reason you need to register is that this is still a beta feature, which is only available to logged in users. Since this tool is still in development, we are not yet ready to provide it to all users by default, so you need to enable it first as a beta feature in your preferences.

Enjoy …

P.S.: Daniel, thanks for your suggestion to use a more prominent indicator during image load, which I will pass on to our team :)

Subfader 1 year

Yay! The screenshots look great. But I couldn’t find example pages?????

I like MediaWiki becoming a real MediaWiki.

tester 1 year

Err, why do i need to register to test this feature?

Daniel 1 year

Fabrice: thanks for your reply. I have tried the lightbox demo and it looks good. I still think a throbber in the middle of the page would be a better indicator, I find the progress bar not visible enough.

Shobhit 1 year

I would love to test Media Viewer. How can I test and report bugs?

Fabrice Florin 1 year

Thanks, Daniel! This is just the start of a two-month testing phase, so we will still be improving the tool during that time. :)

We have already fixed the three issues you bring up above, but these fixes have not yet made it to your site, because it takes about 2 weeks for features to move from our test sites to all wikis. You can already view them, along with other new features, on MediaWiki.org, on this testing page: https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Lightbox_demo

The image load is now a lot faster, and we show both a progress bar and a blurred thumbnail while we load. And the small images in full screen should be gone now. Let us know how all this works for you. You should be getting this version on German Wikipedia next Thursday.

In a couple weeks, we will post announcements on most large wikis to invite folks to test more energetically. But we are holding back for now, until all the most important features and bug fixes make it to your sites. Here is our current release schedule, to give you a sense of how we plan to roll out this tool worldwide: https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Multimedia/Media_Viewer/Release_Plan

Thanks again for your helpful feedback! Look forward to hearing more from you, as we approach wider release :)

Daniel 1 year

I’m sure this will be great, but wouldn’t it make more sense to fix at least the most obvious bugs before asking users to test it? Like the lack of visual feedback during image loading, the very slow performance, fullscreen mode showing small images, …

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