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Main infobox and nearby features since the 2010 New Look

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Forums: Index > Watercooler > Main infobox and nearby features since the 2010 New Look


Back in November 2010 we had a forum about the New Look. The one clearly unfinished section within it went like this (and deserves more attention, to make progress):

Adjusting to narrower article spaceEdit

As I said above, the width is reduced. Our former layout that let the child box sit bedside the infobox (unless one of them was extra wide) is somewhat at risk. It can still work - see Bruce Whealton Sr. (1940-) for a current example (until one of the boxes there is widened, which could happen any day when Bruce Junior adds more data).

We may need to get our template experts to chew this over. Can we force one or other of the boxes to be a bit narrower most of the time? Should we do more to urge the use of shorter page names (because when they are in the main infobox and don't yet have a page they are unbreakable buttons)?

Robin Patterson (Talk) 04:34, October 18, 2010 (UTC)

Welcome to my world: since I am running my screen at 1024x768, I have always found the child box being forced to at least 3 lines. That is why I usually put {{clear}} before the children, so that the child box is forced below the info box. Thurstan 04:59, October 18, 2010 (UTC)
If that applies even to the above example, you are probably in a very substantial minority or even a majority and should be properly catered for. We should probably redesign the top of our pages. Such as widening the infobox to half the available width - only slightly cramping the mini-biography and whatever detailed bio users add - and using {{clear}} as part of the standard page just above the child box so that the children are always below the infobox; then we can give them full width and introduce a marriages column for them. The new look involves "fixed width" - doubtless our template experts know what that may require us to do to aspects of our coding. — Robin Patterson (Talk) 05:28, October 18, 2010 (UTC)
Let's deal with the children box in a separate forum: Forum:Children box. — Robin Patterson (Talk) 23:42, October 25, 2010 (UTC)

Table of Contents (TOC)Edit

I believe the TOC should be standard, even though there is often only "Offspring", "Sources and notes", and "Contributors", and sometimes only two of those. Reasons:

  1. The TOC fills some of the otherwise awkward space to the left of the infobox.
  2. If there is any remaining white space, the TOC will tell people that there's more to see (and help them click to the part they want, if - like me with a temperamental touchpad - they don't enjoy scrolling).

-- Robin Patterson (Talk) 07:17, April 24, 2011 (UTC)


Main infoboxEdit

Quoting from above - "We should probably redesign the top of our pages. Such as widening the infobox to half the available width ...".

Advantages of widening it
  1. Fixed width gives the viewer a smoother experience going from page to page
  2. Greater width will allow many of the rows to take up fewer lines, thus making the box less tall so that there is less potential awkward white space to the left of it
  3. Mini-biography will usually take up more lines and therefore better fill the white space
  4. Table of contents may occasionally also take up more lines, which is good when there's little text before the child box.
Would it be better going further than halfway across?
Advantages would continue to accrue as above, though reducing. Given that the mini-bio contains much the same stuff as the infobox, there's probably a proportion at which they would usually have about the same number of lines, which could mean we had gone too far, because the TOC would have wasteful white space to its right under the infobox.

-- Robin Patterson (Talk) 07:17, April 24, 2011 (UTC)


Brief descriptionEdit

When we used info pages, one of the parameters was a brief description summarizing a person's life, e.g.:

  • Third President of the United States
  • Prominent London tea merchant and author in the 1820s
  • Criminal transported to Botany Bay but ended life as respected citizen with 60 grandchildren

Our software placed that at the top of the article, and it was used elsewhere, e.g. on hndis pages. I noticed one on a recently-edited article, placed at the top just with reference to the old info page parameter. I think it could be reinstated as a regular optional item, a bit like the standard Wikipedia article intro preceding the less distinctive stuff in the minibio.

-- Robin Patterson (Talk) 07:17, April 24, 2011 (UTC)

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