Last modified: 2014-10-24 18:46:20 UTC

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Bug 48789 - (ve-linkediting) VisualEditor: Improvements and behaviour changes to the link input widget (tracking)
VisualEditor: Improvements and behaviour changes to the link input widget (t...
Product: VisualEditor
Classification: Unclassified
Editing Tools (Other open bugs)
All All
: Normal enhancement
: ---
Assigned To: Editing team bugs – take if you're interested!
: tracking
: 57716 (view as bug list)
Depends on: 37835 50321 50360 50593 50881 52436 53973 54947 55390 57200 58554 61072 61558 63355 63603 33091 49680 49928 50240 50279 50452 50646 50945 51065 51205 51270 51309 51404 51415 51438 51464 52127 52634 52670 53495 54759 54984 55465 55724 55839 56429 56434 56482 56503 56747 56749 57205 57506 57604 57783 58528 60501 60843 60850 61069 62229 62492 62818 62857 62941 63200 65343 67377 67446 67447
Blocks: tracking ve-tracking
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Reported: 2013-05-24 16:03 UTC by Axel Boldt
Modified: 2014-10-24 18:46 UTC (History)
7 users (show)

See Also:
Web browser: ---
Mobile Platform: ---
Assignee Huggle Beta Tester: ---


Description Axel Boldt 2013-05-24 16:03:34 UTC
There are essentially two ways to create a link:

#1 You enter the link's text, select it, click the link button (or CTRL-K), and choose the link target.

#2 You click the link button first, enter the target and get out of the dialog, at which point the link text (identical to chosen link target) will be entered.

I'm not sure which method users prefer, but it's clear that both methods should work seamlessly. However, with the current setup both methods are problematic:

#1 Once the correct target has been picked (either by entering it, or by selecting from the list), it is not quite clear what the user should do next. Is the back arrow the right thing to do, or does that cancel the selection? Should I simply click outside of the dialog, or does that cancel? It turns out: if the target was selected from the list, both these actions are correct and do not cancel the choice, but if the link target was entered by hand (and not followed by Enter!), both actions do cancel the choice. The fastest way is to enter the link target and hit Enter twice. This is all fairly unintuitive.

#2 With this method, the user will often have to adjust the link's text afterwards, for instance in the case of plurals or if the target article is disambiguated with parentheses. But it is not clear to the user that adjusting the link text is safe and won't create a broken link; indeed the crucial distinction between link text and link target remains obscure. (Changing a singular to a plural is especially difficult since editing links at the end is not allowed.)

I have checked the workflow of entering links in LibreOffice, Gmail and Word; they are all basically the same as in the Visual Editor, with two major differences: 

a) the dialog popup window has a clear OK button, and

b) the dialog popup window contains separate clearly labeled boxes for the link text and the link target. 

I believe both of these changes make a lot of sense.

When entering the dialog from an existing link or from highlighted text, that text should automatically be entered into the link text's box, with a corresponding suggestion for the link target preselected, but both boxes should be editable independently. The link target box should have a list of further suggestions underneath. Once everything is OK, clicking the OK button or hitting Enter should create the link; clicking outside of the dialog box or hitting the back arrow should cancel the action.

There is another minor issue: right now, when hovering over an existing link, the link target is displayed in a popup; when clicking on the link, a separate link symbol popup occurs which does not show the link target. The meaning of that symbol is not clear; it turns out that clicking on it will open the dialog popup, allowing to change or remove the link. Gmail solves this issue as follows: hovering over a link will not display anything, but when clicking on a link, a tiny popup appears giving the link's target and options to change or remove the link. I find that completely self-explanatory.
Comment 1 Oliver Keyes 2013-06-13 10:16:20 UTC
Alternately, once a link is selected we could have the link inspector automatically close (re: OK buttons). I'm more of a fan of OK buttons because I think auto-closes are just inviting someone to mis-click and get infuriated at the software for going away and leaving them with the wrong link.
Comment 2 Krinkle 2013-07-11 10:48:38 UTC
(inspector->input widget; inspector is the context menu with buttons to open a dialog or input widget)
Comment 3 Chris McKenna 2013-07-30 10:58:19 UTC
English Wikipedia user comments that the current behaviour of the input widget is not intuitive at all:

"I clicked the link tool while not focused on any text, to try and add a new link. I got a largely empty box with no instructions, and the next word in the article highlighted within the box.  I fiddled with it a few times, and still don't know if typing in the box A. changes the text of the link. B. allows me to select more words. C. Changes what is linked to, or D. is followed by another, nearly identical box for a secondary function"

To me this is further evidence that we need two boxes: one to enter the link target and one to enter the link display text. The second box would default to the same as the link for internal links and for external links either (ideally) the page title or (less ideally but probably easier) the filename sans extension. 

This would also fix Bug 50945 and Bug 51438 (if the latter is distinct from the former)
Comment 4 Chris McKenna 2013-07-30 19:34:35 UTC
Adam Cuerden comments again on the suggestion to have separate boxes for link target and link title:
"Yes [that would be better], but do make sure it's on the same page. Don't give one dialogue, then a second. Also, if one of the boxes is left blank, it should be auto-completed from the other box. "

For the second part of the comment they mean that if someone gives a link target (e.g. Fish) and doesn't specify any title, produce a link: [[Fish]]
If someone gives a link title (e.g. Hedgehog) but doesn't specify a target, produce the link: [[Hedgehog]].
Comment 5 Chris McKenna 2013-08-08 11:23:20 UTC
at en.wp Mauro Bieg comments:
"The add-link dialog should have a clear "OK" and "Cancel" button. Right now, you have no obvious way to get rid of it and it is not clear what happens when you click somewhere else (the dialog goes away, but did it save the changes or not?) Also, what does the strange back button (<) to the left do? and are the Link-symbol and "Hyperlink" two buttons or a description or what (nothing happens when I click on them)? The trash symbol is good and does what you'd expect it to: remove the link."
Comment 6 James Forrester 2013-09-09 22:29:13 UTC
Turning this into a tracking bug as it's a lot easier to understand that way.
Comment 7 James Forrester 2014-03-19 02:49:01 UTC
*** Bug 57716 has been marked as a duplicate of this bug. ***

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