Proposal:Make Commons more accessible to the average visitor

From Strategic Planning
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Every proposal should be tied to one of the strategic priorities below.

Edit this page to help identify the priorities related to this proposal!

  1. Achieve continued growth in readership
  2. Focus on quality content
  3. Increase Participation
  4. Stabilize and improve the infrastructure
  5. Encourage Innovation


Commons still has a reputation as a "backstage" project - and with good reason. The main page is cluttered, the category system is, as has been stated many times, a disaster and useless for finding all media related to a subject (mostly because a large portion of the media on Commons isn't properly categorized), and what's worst is that after all this time Commons still lacks a good "entry point" - except for the dubious candidate Featured Pictures, where first-time users are greeted with several hundreds of photos of bugs and zero non-picture media, which in general seem to be all but ignored on Commons altogether. Something needs to change if Commons is to become the average user's media archive of choice.


A step in the right direction would be to introduce something you might call a Commons Palette - a portal giving an overview of what Commons has to offer. This portal would be a visually engaging library comprised of some of the best media on Commons - and I mean media, not just pictures. Ideas include categorizing pictures by color (something which has been done manually for the Wikimedia Mosaic) and presenting them in a rainbow-style arrangement, a semantic web, or a world map showing geolocated images at their location.

Some more proposals:

Key Questions

  • What is the first impression we want to give a random visitor who stumbles upon the Commons main page?
  • What can we do to introduce a more balanced selection of the Picture of the Day (August so far has seen 6 insects on the main page out of 13 days - hardly balanced and unattractive to many average users, who might even find insects disgusting)?
  • What can we do to better present the sounds and videos on Commons?
  • How can the category system, which has not proven itself up to its job, be replaced or revamped?
  • Can MediaWiki be a suitable media repository?

Potential Costs

  • None financial for the palette project, as this project can be achieved using existing hardware and software. However it will require significant time, planning, and energy to accomplish properly.
  • Developer costs.


Community Discussion

Do you have a thought about this proposal? A suggestion? Discuss this proposal by going to Proposal Talk:Make Commons more accessible to the average visitor.

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