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Checkered background on file description pages

 

 

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z at mzmcbride

Jan 28, 2011, 4:48 PM

Post #1 of 7 (747 views)
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Checkered background on file description pages

Wikimedia Commons and the English Wikipedia have customized their site-wide
CSS to put a checkered pattern on the transparent part of files on the file
description page.

Because I view this code as almost necessary on any wiki that supports
uploading PNGs, I filed a bug about including it in the default site-wide
CSS: https://bugzilla.wikimedia.org/show_bug.cgi?id=26470

There's definitely missing functionality here. On wikis that don't use a
checkered background, a lot of users end up downloading the images to their
computer to look at them in order to determine if a background is white or
transparent. That sucks.

There was previous discussion about this, but more discussion is needed,
apparently. Is site-wide CSS the best way to do this? Would a toggle on the
file description page make more sense? User preference?

MZMcBride



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Platonides at gmail

Jan 29, 2011, 6:09 AM

Post #2 of 7 (700 views)
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Re: Checkered background on file description pages [In reply to]

MZMcBride wrote:
> There was previous discussion about this, but more discussion is needed,
> apparently. Is site-wide CSS the best way to do this? Would a toggle on the
> file description page make more sense? User preference?
>
> MZMcBride

It's easy to add such "preference" as a gadget.



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z at mzmcbride

Jan 29, 2011, 8:29 AM

Post #3 of 7 (698 views)
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Re: Checkered background on file description pages [In reply to]

Platonides wrote:
> MZMcBride wrote:
>> There was previous discussion about this, but more discussion is needed,
>> apparently. Is site-wide CSS the best way to do this? Would a toggle on the
>> file description page make more sense? User preference?
>
> It's easy to add such "preference" as a gadget.

That requires installing the Gadgets extension, copying over the appropriate
pages, and then explaining to users how to activate the functionality. That
seems a bit less than ideal.

I read over the previous discussion about this (on mediawiki-cvs, I think)
and I still don't understand the exact issue with everyone seeing a
checkered background. There was an arbitrary distinction created between
editors and readers and a theory was put forward that readers could never
see a checkered background, but that it was quite helpful to editors. I
think readers would like to know as much as editors whether a background is
white or transparent, and a checkered background is the standard way to do
this.

MZMcBride



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krinklemail at gmail

Jan 29, 2011, 8:46 AM

Post #4 of 7 (699 views)
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Re: Checkered background on file description pages [In reply to]

Op 29 jan 2011, om 17:29 heeft MZMcBride het volgende geschreven:

> Platonides wrote:
>> MZMcBride wrote:
>>> There was previous discussion about this, but more discussion is
>>> needed,
>>> apparently. Is site-wide CSS the best way to do this? Would a
>>> toggle on the
>>> file description page make more sense? User preference?
>>
>> It's easy to add such "preference" as a gadget.
>
> That requires installing the Gadgets extension, copying over the
> appropriate
> pages, and then explaining to users how to activate the
> functionality. That
> seems a bit less than ideal.
>
> I read over the previous discussion about this (on mediawiki-cvs, I
> think)
> and I still don't understand the exact issue with everyone seeing a
> checkered background. There was an arbitrary distinction created
> between
> editors and readers and a theory was put forward that readers could
> never
> see a checkered background, but that it was quite helpful to
> editors. I
> think readers would like to know as much as editors whether a
> background is
> white or transparent, and a checkered background is the standard way
> to do
> this.
>
> MZMcBride

For a while I had pretty much the exact same thoughts like "What is
the downside
for readers ? What does it matter ?"

But after reading that thread[1] I'm starting to understand and kinda
agree with it.

Compare the following two pages (when logged out):

* http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:A-gunner.gif
* http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:A-gunner.svg

Although as me, being a graphic designer, I'd say: "Ah, SVG that's
awesome.
Vector is obviously better and I see that it's transparent as well."

But I can imagine an end-user thinking. Hm... Why is this .svg
whatever thing distorted ?
It's got these squares all over it. I'll use the other one.

Now in this case there there's a choise (I linked to both versions),
but that's not always the case.
It may be hard to imagine as being a technologically advanced/
experienced user, but I believe
these are real scenarios. People are really direct and without doubt
when they see (too) (much)
weird stuff, they click the [x] and go away, left disappointed.

So as far as I'm concerned this is still a dilemma. Readers want to
read articles and look at cool
pictures, icons in articles and accross the interface.

There shouldn't be a checkered background when an transparent PNG icon
is placed on the top
right of an article (say like the Featured article star), there
shouldn't be when it's a logo in an
infobox.

Should there be when it's in a <gallery>, on a File:-page or in the
Filehistory ?


--
Krinkle

[1] http://thread.gmane.org/gmane.science.linguistics.wikipedia.technical/30603

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erik at wikimedia

Jan 29, 2011, 7:48 PM

Post #5 of 7 (708 views)
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Re: Checkered background on file description pages [In reply to]

2011/1/29 Krinkle <krinklemail [at] gmail>:
> Op 29 jan 2011, om 17:29 heeft MZMcBride het volgende geschreven:
> Compare the following two pages (when logged out):
>
> * http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:A-gunner.gif
> * http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:A-gunner.svg

A nice example. A couple of others:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Spider_internal_anatomy-en.svg
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Cross_section_jellyfish_en_%28edit%29.svg

These and many other SVG illustrations are included in the main
article in a size that's too small to read. Clicking an image is the
standard way that users are taught to enlarge images.

While a chequered background can be useful to visualize the alpha
channel, we can reasonably posit for a general reference source like
Wikipedia that the vast majority of users who enlarge images like the
above do so to inspect details of the image, not to assess secondary
image characteristics like file format or alpha channel, and indeed
many of them likely have no understanding why the background is there
to begin with. For those users the chequered background is simply
useless noise.

The same is likely to apply in many (although of course not in all)
contexts of third party MediaWiki use. A simple "show/hide
transparency" toggle for media with an alpha channel would be a nice
standard solution. Defaults for a media repository like Wikimedia
Commons could reasonably differ from those for a general reference
source like Wikipedia, as typical user intentions are likely
different.
--
Erik Möller
Deputy Director, Wikimedia Foundation

Support Free Knowledge: http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Donate

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hashar+wmf at free

Jan 30, 2011, 3:52 AM

Post #6 of 7 (699 views)
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Re: Checkered background on file description pages [In reply to]

On 29/01/11 17:46, Krinkle wrote:
<snip>
> Compare the following two pages (when logged out):
>
> * http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:A-gunner.gif
> * http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:A-gunner.svg

We could remove the checker by default (pleasing the reader) and add a
button to reveal the transparency. This could be implemented for the
File: namespace.

--
Ashar Voultoiz


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z at mzmcbride

Jan 30, 2011, 10:38 AM

Post #7 of 7 (691 views)
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Re: Checkered background on file description pages [In reply to]

Erik Moeller wrote:
> A simple "show/hide transparency" toggle for media with an alpha channel would
> be a nice standard solution. Defaults for a media repository like Wikimedia
> Commons could reasonably differ from those for a general reference source like
> Wikipedia, as typical user intentions are likely different.

Ashar Voultoiz wrote:
> We could remove the checker by default (pleasing the reader) and add a
> button to reveal the transparency. This could be implemented for the
> File: namespace.

With these comments in mind, I've updated the relevant bug in Bugzilla to
focus more on a toggle solution in JavaScript. I don't imagine it'd be very
difficult to implement, so I've tagged the bug with the "easy" keyword.

https://bugzilla.wikimedia.org/show_bug.cgi?id=26470

MZMcBride



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