Browsing on the world's largest community powered online encyclopedia Wikipedia just got a whole lot easier thanks to the integration of page preview functionality on the site.
The new feature displays a preview of any internal Wikipedia link that you hover the mouse cursor over. Just hover the mouse over any link on the site to display the preview.
The feature is new to the English version of Wikipedia, but it has been part of other locales supported by Wikipedia, like the German version of the site, already.
Previews include the first lines of text and an image if available. It may take a brief moment before the preview is displayed as it needs to be loaded.
If your Internet connection is speedy, you may see little to no delay before the preview is brought up on the screen.
Wikipedia announced the change last week on the official Wikimedia blog. Wikimedia engineers ran A/B tests to test the feature to find out whether it improved the user experience on the site.
Our testing shows that the feature makes it easier and more efficient for Wikipedia readers to interact with our content and get more context about a topic on Wikipedia.
Page previews on Wikipedia solve a long-standing usability issue on link-heavy sites such as Wikipedia. Wikipedia articles may have dozens or even hundreds of links, and going back and forth between different links does not offer the best user experience.
While link previews don't solve the issue completely, as previews may not provide you with the answers that you are looking for, they'll certainly improve usability in cases where previews display enough information to read on without having to open an entire article on Wikipedia.
Wikipedia users who dislike the new page preview functionality or don't need it can disable it. Here is how you do so:
Page previews are disabled immediately after you hit the save button. You may enable previews again in the following way:
Wikipedia is not the first site or service that introduces page preview functionality. Google launched Instant Previews for Google Search back in 2010 but pulled it again. Some extensions, Hovercard for Chrome, offered similar functionality for select sites.
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