Languages bar placement

Discussions about the wiki documentation of FreeCAD and its translation.
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NormandC
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Languages bar placement

Postby NormandC » Sat Jul 28, 2018 11:42 pm

The languages bar is used to switch a wiki page to a different language.

FC_Wiki_Languages_Bar_01.png
FC_Wiki_Languages_Bar_01.png (19.62 KiB) Viewed 324 times

We have always placed this language bar at the bottom of pages. But as I've written a few times here over the years, placing it at the bottom is a huge usability problem, because when the page content is longer than what the visitor's screen can show, the language bar is invisible.

That is true for most pages on the wiki.

So how are the visitors who do not understand English to know that the content can be switched to their language??? Because to get to the language bar, they have to scroll the page way down to the bottom.

For most MediaWiki based wikis on the Internet, the language bar is either placed in the left sidebar (Wikipedia) or at the top.

One example is the RepRap wiki: https://reprap.org/wiki/RepRap

Last week I kind of lost patience with this :D and unilaterally decided to change it. This is a huge job, there are thousands of pages with the languages bar at the bottom. I can't edit them all, and I doubt we'll have enough volunteers to help. But I decided to start anyway, and I changed the most important pages, that is, the Main Page and the ones that are linked in the Users Documentation sidebar.

I propose that when we edit existing pages, we take the habit of moving the <languages/> tag to the top of the page.
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kkremitzki
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Re: Languages bar placement

Postby kkremitzki » Sun Jul 29, 2018 4:43 am

NormandC wrote:
Sat Jul 28, 2018 11:42 pm
The languages bar is used to switch a wiki page to a different language.


FC_Wiki_Languages_Bar_01.png


We have always placed this language bar at the bottom of pages. But as I've written a few times here over the years, placing it at the bottom is a huge usability problem, because when the page content is longer than what the visitor's screen can show, the language bar is invisible.

That is true for most pages on the wiki.

So how are the visitors who do not understand English to know that the content can be switched to their language??? Because to get to the language bar, they have to scroll the page way down to the bottom.

For most MediaWiki based wikis on the Internet, the language bar is either placed in the left sidebar (Wikipedia) or at the top.

One example is the RepRap wiki: https://reprap.org/wiki/RepRap

Last week I kind of lost patience with this :D and unilaterally decided to change it. This is a huge job, there are thousands of pages with the languages bar at the bottom. I can't edit them all, and I doubt we'll have enough volunteers to help. But I decided to start anyway, and I changed the most important pages, that is, the Main Page and the ones that are linked in the Users Documentation sidebar.

I propose that when we edit existing pages, we take the habit of moving the <languages/> tag to the top of the page.
+1 on this one.
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chrisb
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Re: Languages bar placement

Postby chrisb » Sun Jul 29, 2018 8:56 am

I am not really a friend of having this at the top because it consumes so much space for almost nothing. But I can understand why it is sensible, simply because people are accustomed to have it in the top region. Perhaps there is an option to have this as an option menu like in the FreeCAD preferences.
Le_Loup
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Re: Languages bar placement

Postby Le_Loup » Sun Jul 29, 2018 2:33 pm

After changing one article I had a second thought about it:

Most people will start on english pages. Then they might switch to pages written in their native language. From then on they'll probably read on in their language... and don't need a language selection any more.

So it seems to be sufficient to change the location of the language bar only on english pages (reducing the number of pages to be altered).
chrisb
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Re: Languages bar placement

Postby chrisb » Sun Jul 29, 2018 6:11 pm

Le_Loup wrote:
Sun Jul 29, 2018 2:33 pm
So it seems to be sufficient to change the location of the language bar only on english pages (reducing the number of pages to be altered).
I don't think you have to do it in the translations at all. I looked at some pages and it seems to be handled by the framework.
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NormandC
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Re: Languages bar placement

Postby NormandC » Sun Jul 29, 2018 6:12 pm

chrisb wrote:
Sun Jul 29, 2018 8:56 am
I am not really a friend of having this at the top because it consumes so much space for almost nothing. But I can understand why it is sensible, simply because people are accustomed to have it in the top region.
For almost nothing? Accustomed? You make it sound like it's a superficial matter. It is not. Again, it's about usability.
Wikipedia wrote:Usability is the ease of use and learnability of a human-made object such as a tool or device.[1] In software engineering, usability is the degree to which a software can be used by specified consumers to achieve quantified objectives with effectiveness, efficiency, and satisfaction in a quantified context of use.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Usability

If the languages bar is not visible at first glance, visitors simply cannot know that it exists. So the languages bar becomes useless. Last week a French user told me he wasn't aware he could switch the content of the wiki to French. When you understand nothing of a page written in a language you don't know, will you scroll it all the way down? No, most people will close it.

Usability is a critical subject that is far too often ignored in FreeCAD and in the website.

As for it consuming space, the language bar could be made smaller (for example by removing the border). See the RepRap wiki link I posted.

Le_Loup wrote:
Sun Jul 29, 2018 2:33 pm
So it seems to be sufficient to change the location of the language bar only on english pages (reducing the number of pages to be altered).
As chrisb replied, thankfully, the language bar placement is controlled by the English pages. Once it is moved to the top in the English pages, it will automatically move to the top for the translated pages as well.
chrisb
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Re: Languages bar placement

Postby chrisb » Sun Jul 29, 2018 6:25 pm

NormandC wrote:
Sun Jul 29, 2018 6:12 pm
chrisb wrote:
Sun Jul 29, 2018 8:56 am
I am not really a friend of having this at the top because it consumes so much space for almost nothing. But I can understand why it is sensible, simply because people are accustomed to have it in the top region.
For almost nothing? Accustomed? You make it sound like it's a superficial matter. It is not. Again, it's about usability.
Sorry, I didn't make myself clear. You are right, that it is important for usability. "Almost nothing" was meant to apply to the information content a user needs, and that is not very much, only his own language. So my idea was to give it less room while having the same usability, by leaving it at the top but saving some of the space it uses.
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yorik
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Re: Languages bar placement

Postby yorik » Tue Jul 31, 2018 8:57 pm

I also agree with this change. And indeed since the <language> tag is outside the translatable zone (or at least it should be), only the english page needs to be adapted, all translations will use it automatically.

I'll also do the change whenever I happen to see a page where it's still at bottom.
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NormandC
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Re: Languages bar placement

Postby NormandC » Thu Aug 02, 2018 10:28 pm

Cool, renatorivo has been at it! Thanks! :D

And thanks to Le Loup and Luc who've been busy translating the wiki to German and Romanian. :)

And mario52 has been very busy too!

But once again, FuzzyBot is the most prolific contributor. That guy never sleeps! :mrgreen:

https://www.freecadweb.org/wiki/Special:ActiveUsers