Wikivoyage talk:Table of contents location

From Wikivoyage
Jump to navigation Jump to search

TOC location comments[edit]

I'd rather see the page's TOC below the main navigation panel, mostly for the sake of UI stability. - (WT-en) Todd VerBeek 21:59, 5 June 2006 (EDT)

Agreed. I'd rather see it below the "Tool box" and "Related" "Other" links. - (WT-en) Andrew Haggard (Sapphire) 22:01, 5 June 2006 (EDT)
Agreed here too. I'm not sure it's really an improvement on the standard format, though; a little white space isn't the end of the world, and one can always fill it (at least partially) with images... -- (WT-en) Bill-on-the-Hill 22:08, 5 June 2006 (EDT)
Compare with (formerly located at: -- (WT-en) Colin 22:13, 5 June 2006 (EDT)
Actually, I'm not sure I support this at all. I rathered enjoyed the previous layout. Sure, there was a little white space, but I find overall the site was easier to navigate. I've hit a random header multiple times attempting to hit "Recent changes." I instinctively look at certain parts of pages when I want to look for ToC, navigation, and the tool box. Additionally, since we have over a million hits a day I have a hunch this would be a rather unwelcomed change for other users. - (WT-en) Andrew Haggard (Sapphire) 22:18, 5 June 2006 (EDT)
I've moved it to beneath the nav area. I prefer it there, too. --(WT-en) Evan 22:19, 5 June 2006 (EDT)
My feeling is that things were more usable with the TOC in the article, and it was a bit more flexible as well (ie you could hide it, indentation for sub-headings, and no problems with long heading names changing the nav bar size). I like Mark's TOC design (the Geekhive version referenced above) but fear it would look bad on pages with quickbars, so perhaps a bit more thought should be given before changing to that design as well. -- (WT-en) Ryan 22:23, 5 June 2006 (EDT)
I think if there were some commitment on Evan's part to use it, Mark would be amenable to working out the details prior to implementing the layout. -- (WT-en) Colin 22:25, 5 June 2006 (EDT)
If there's some particular features of Mark's layout you like, let me know and I'll try to roll it in. --(WT-en) Evan 22:30, 5 June 2006 (EDT)
Colors, fonts, contents-on-right so they are part of the article, and flexible fixed-width vs. full-width columns. Also, I'd really prefer that experiments were performed in a sandbox somewhere for community comment prior to being made live. Sooner or later we're going to have Ads, and it would be good to have a sandbox for working out any details about that before going live in order to avoid any misunderstandings which could be avoided through simple discussion. -- (WT-en) Colin 22:35, 5 June 2006 (EDT)
I've gotten used to testing code on my development box and updating it to the live server directly; that's the way it's worked for the last couple of years. The contents pages you're seeing are based on the prototypes I linked to from Project:Article templates a few months ago (see for an example). I'd be happy to update to a read-only test site in the future; it's not something we've done in the past, but I'm more than happy to get some feedback. --(WT-en) Evan 22:49, 5 June 2006 (EDT)
I'll be getting some collapsibility into the ToC this evening; expandable sub-menus will probably be coming soon. I'll see about getting the column to stay a constant width. --(WT-en) Evan 22:30, 5 June 2006 (EDT)
On thinking about it, I'd prefer not to see this change at all. Maybe I'm missing something here, but isn't the objective to have a page (at least a Destination or Topic page) that's printable rather than super-cool-looking on the screen? A well-constructed Destination or Travel Topic page exploits the white space generated by the ToC for a photo, map, etc., and those pages tend not to have overly long ToCs anyway. Having the ToC in the margin of a printed page strikes me as illogical. Yes, the ToC for things like the VFD page gets excessive, but that's not the main type of page here. Is there any way to set it up so that only the "administrative" pages have the ToC in the margin? -- (WT-en) Bill-on-the-Hill 22:43, 5 June 2006 (EDT)
I can put the toc into the content area of printed pages, if that's a desired feature. It's not particularly hard. I'm not sure what the utility is of the ToC on printed pages, though, since it doesn't do page numbers (never has, may do it in the future if I can figure out how). Just a "preview" of what's coming? --(WT-en) Evan 22:49, 5 June 2006 (EDT)
A TOC on a printed version is fairly pointless; one of the virtues of CSS is that you can dump this meta-content altogether on the stylesheet you use for printing. I don't care especially strongly (i.e. I can see the arguments either way) whether the TOC gets stuffed into the nav panel on the left or floated off to the right as in Mark's skin (which I do like BTW); I do prefer that it gets out of the body of the page on-screen. Yes, white space is a Good Thing, but the kind of white space that ye olde placement of the TOC imposed is Not. Right in the bloody middle of the screen. {shudder} I've been editing a lot of pages lately (the factbookectomy project, y'know) and trying to snake the text and a map or photo between the upper-right quickbars with the upper-left TOCs, all in the body of the page was annoying as hell. - (WT-en) Todd VerBeek 23:55, 5 June 2006 (EDT)
I do so agree with the comments expressed by (WT-en) Bill-on-the-Hill and (WT-en) Todd VerBeek. Can there not be an option similar to that which obtains in Wikpedia to override the ToC position by using {{TOCright}}, etc? (WT-en) W. Frank 09:20, 7 March 2007 (EST)

From the project page[edit]

I strongly oppose it because it co-mingles article navigation with page navigation. Also, I'd druther you got Mark's style going because it (a) addresses the problem of us looking like Wikipedia and (b) was created collaboratively with input from Wikivoyagers prior to being installed on the site. -- (WT-en) Colin 22:07, 5 June 2006 (EDT)
Well, maybe I'd just gotten used to it, but I was quite happy with the old-fashioned TOC, really. Also, I don't like the way the final letters of long topic titles are missing on the left column in Project:Votes for deletion for instance. Finally, would the TOC show in the printable version of articles in the former layout? Because now it doesn't... -- (WT-en) Ricardo (Rmx) 22:14, 5 June 2006 (EDT)
I've gotta say that I'm glad to finally see the change-- the toc at the top of the pages has been bugging me for, what, three years now? (WT-en) Majnoona 22:24, 5 June 2006 (EDT)
I'll add my vote to the "Nay" votes. The TOC is a major feature of the article and should be kept up top where it's clearly visible, not hidden in the toolbar which is ignored by all and sundry — just witness how often we get people adding Wikipedia links into "External links", because they can't see the link in the toolbox. (WT-en) Jpatokal 02:05, 6 June 2006 (EDT)
As far as I can tell, there are four available design choices: leave it in the nav bar, put it back in the middle of the page, put it off to the right, or remove it entirely. Until we've got a compelling plan for going forward, it's staying in the nav bar.
A lot of people have complained about the huge amount of whitespace forced into pages by the ToC when it was in the content section of the page. I think it looked awful, and it got between readers and the information they're looking for. I think pages with the ToC taken out are much easier to read. I also don't think it's a big loss to move the ToC to a less emphasized part of the screen, since it's only marginally useful (pun intended). I think calling it a "major" feature is an overstatement. I think that for people who want to navigate through a page, the navbar is the logical place to look for tools to do that. --(WT-en) Evan 09:51, 6 June 2006 (EDT)
I don't like this either. — (WT-en) Ravikiran 02:11, 6 June 2006 (EDT)
I oppose this change. It ruins the style of many existing articles with images, f.e. de:Finnland. Please set it back or open a voting. -- (WT-en) Steffen M. 03:10, 6 June 2006 (EDT)
Articles should try not to depend on the quirks of the current page layout to look right on the screen. - (WT-en) Todd VerBeek 08:11, 6 June 2006 (EDT)
I agree; those pages that depended on spacing from the ToC for their layout look bad when you collapse the ToC, anyways. --(WT-en) Evan 10:44, 6 June 2006 (EDT)
FWIW I don't mind the TOC in the left column, but vastly prefered putting it in a new right column. Of course Evan had ideas about what he wanted to do with this all along, but he didn't say so, so I didn't really think very much about putting it in the left.
The reason I don't think it belongs in the left is that it's a different kind of information and conceptually needs to be separated from the extra-page navigation and other tools.
Evan: regardless, please do pay close attention to what people are saying here. I'd really hate for these very important contributors to start thinking that there's no way for them to influence such important aspects of the site as its look & feel. -- (WT-en) Mark 10:33, 6 June 2006 (EDT)
Mark, absolutely will do that. The whole point is to make the site work well for everyone. I hope everyone feels that they can influence the look and feel of the site, since we've had Project:Bug reports and Project:Feature requests for so long. --(WT-en) Evan 10:44, 6 June 2006 (EDT)
  • Ahhh... I love it over on the left margin. It was really distracting at the top of the article and made a poor first impression. (WT-en) OldPine 15:36, 6 June 2006 (EDT)
I think so too; a lot of readers have complained about it. This is what a huge city looks like on my screen right now; I'd really like to use that space better. --(WT-en) Evan 12:55, 7 June 2006 (EDT)
I really like it on the left margin, too. It's nice to have the extra whitespace for maps and pictures, but it looks kinda funky when there isn't a map/picture there, and as Todd says further down, if there is a map/picture there, then collapsing the TOC just makes the textflow go weird. So, I definitely support it being on the left... below the search bar sounds good to me. -- (WT-en) Haem85 15:51, 7 June 2006 (EDT)
  • How about a tab (like the Edit, History, etc.) for the TOC?? Maybe one link somewhere on the left or in/on the article that opens the tab so that travellers are able to see it and know it's available. (WT-en) OldPine 18:28, 6 June 2006 (EDT)


I'm seeing some funky behavior on some pages. e.g. On New York City, the bullets disappear partway into the TOC. - (WT-en) Todd VerBeek 22:05, 5 June 2006 (EDT)

I'll take a look -- thanks. --(WT-en) Evan 22:19, 5 June 2006 (EDT)
Fixed. --(WT-en) Evan 22:30, 5 June 2006 (EDT)
Try to force-reload your window (Control+Reload or Shift+Reload); there were changes to some Javascript that has to be downloaded. --(WT-en) Evan 00:04, 6 June 2006 (EDT)
That did it. - (WT-en) Andrew Haggard (Sapphire) 00:08, 6 June 2006 (EDT)


The contents box now has a show/hide toggle, which should probably help for long pages. I'm pretty amenable to floating the ToC out to the right, and it sounds like we've got a lot of other people who're interested in that situation, too. I agree that it may conflict with the quickbar for country pages or for infoboxes on other pages, so. I'll try to get a r/o test site up tomorrow for experimentation. --(WT-en) Evan 00:04, 6 June 2006 (EDT)

A different idea[edit]

I never did like the Contents. And still don't. Most of our pages are small and they don't really need a contents. For larger pages the contents bar in the margin does not work at all. I would suggest we take it out all together or my second option would be to hide it as a default. For the record I like the Lausanne [1]. -- (WT-en) Tom Holland (xltel) 09:15, 6 June 2006 (EDT)

Anything in particular you like? Also, how do you mean that the content bar in the margin "doesn't work at all"? Do you mean that it actually doesn't work, or that there's some kind of UI problem with it? --(WT-en) Evan 09:29, 6 June 2006 (EDT)
(I'm pretty sure he was speaking conceptually.) A TOC that is hidden by default would be self-defeating. Expecting a user to know it's there and turn it on before he can use it would mean it's no longer a one-click way of getting to Item Q... which is its reason for being. I really don't see what the harm of having a TOC under the navigation box is (compared to none at all, or hidden). It pushes the "toolbox" and "other languages" boxes down, but those links really aren't used that often by casual users. The fact that it noticeably changes from page to page might even help to draw some attention to the left sidebar, so they'd know those things exist.
"Anything in particular?" It's easier to say what I don't like (because as an overall design it "works"): Wikivoyage's logo is blue but the theme is primarily green (a "brand identity" thang). The body is fixed width (which bugs me a little, but has benefits) but the TOC floats all the way to the right edge of the browser in Safari (a CSS compatibility issue). I like the TOC nesting, but not the numbers. Some of the bullet shapes are too intricate; I know they're supposed to match the Wikivoyage maps (which unfortunately won't be available on most pages for quite a long time), but they just don't work on the page as bullets... I'd be happier with them all being the same shape. But other than that, it's a nice look and has the added benefit of not resembling Wikipedia. - (WT-en) Todd VerBeek 11:00, 6 June 2006 (EDT)
Todd, click the little arrow in the upper right corner of Lausanne and see what happens. -- (WT-en) Tom Holland (xltel) 11:14, 6 June 2006 (EDT)
The body of the page expands to fill the browser, which solves the disconnected TOC in that state, but not when it's in fixed-width mode. - (WT-en) Todd VerBeek 15:12, 6 June 2006 (EDT)
Sorry for the brief comment. I do that way too often. First off the things I like about the Lausanne option really don't relate to this topic, so we might want to start a different topic on UI in general. But to be brief likes for the Lausanne option has not too much to do with the TOC, but the look, feel and options available for the user. (ie:column width, different views, holds your selection, etc.) The UI Sets it apart from Wikipedia, the bullets are cute and there is a little more color. The color needed to match the Wikivoyage blue, but I am sure that is an easy fix. But nothing to do with the TOC.
As far as the TOC goes, I never did like it and to be honest I like it even less on the left margin. For most of the pages a TOC is not needed, it takes up space and is generally useless. You can scroll down a page much faster the using the TOC and sometimes if you are going near the bottom you end up with what you are looking for half way up the page and can't find it. For not working for large pages when in the left margin, it scrolls off the bottom of the screen on the left side and again that makes it useless for pages with a lot of sections, for sure those where you need to jump near the bottom. You have to scroll down, then click a link. eck! Lastly, the links in toolbox and search I use quite frequently and are not off the page on the left side and that really sucks. Now I have to move down to find them. Not good at all.
My vote would be to nix TOC altogether and use some other method to generate a TOC on long pages (if at all). If that can be done, move it to the bottom of the page or bottom of the left margin and make it an index. And add a user preference to hide it all the time and make that the default. I am not saying go to the right margin, because my perference is to not see it at all.-- (WT-en) Tom Holland (xltel) 11:10, 6 June 2006 (EDT)
I did just notice you can hide the TOC and it sticks. That is good. -- (WT-en) Tom Holland (xltel) 11:13, 6 June 2006 (EDT)

Consensus brainstorming[edit]

Appears to me that most of us are opposed to the current layout. Now, how do we figure out what is the best solution? Here is a short list of some of the current ideas floating about:

  • Leave the ToC as is.
  • Leave the ToC under the nav box, but have it auto-hid
  • Restore the ToC the it was prior to the new format.
  • Implement (WT-en) Mark's layout [2]
  • Nix the ToC completely

Currently, I'm not completely opposed to the change, but I am annoyed with the ToC pushing the search bar down. (I think the search bar should be above the ToC.) I'd be supportive of nixing the ToC all together. Sure, this will have some drawbacks particularlly on pages like Project:travellers' pub, but as long as we all do our part in archiving old discussions the problem won't be too hard to overcome. However, I believe the best solution would be implementing Mark's two column layout. The ToC blends in with the article, is easy to use, and there is no white space! I believe it Mark's two column layout is the best solution. - (WT-en) Andrew Haggard (Sapphire) 13:28, 6 June 2006 (EDT)

I think you missed "float the ToC on the right side of the page instead", which I think is the lead contender.
We've got a lot of custom UI code running on Wikivoyage already that isn't part of Mark's skin, so I can't install that skin directly without damaging the functionality of the site. There are a lot of elements of his design that I want to incorporate, but it's not going to be installed in toto.
A comprehensive UI redesign for is probably in the cards for some time in the medium future, but I don't have a date for it, nor any details. It's not on my agenda right now. I'm mostly interested in dealing with complaints about the whitespace in the ToC; my two I-can-live-with-it options are floated in a separate column on the right (seems like what Colin, Mark, and others prefer), or anywhere in the nav bar from under the toolbox up to the logo. ---(WT-en) Evan 14:08, 6 June 2006 (EDT)
(Picking a sort of appropriate place to stick this) What about option G: Leave the TOC where it was (and is again), but let the article text flow to the right of it? (I'm not fluent in CSS, but like in Ye Olde HTML with a <table align="left">.) That might do some ugly things with images embedded in the first few sections (to be evaluated during testing), but it would get rid of the white space. - (WT-en) Todd VerBeek 14:22, 7 June 2006 (EDT)
I apologize for my ignormoose, but could someone please unabbreviate UI? I'll pretty much support anything as long as I can see the search bar closer to the nav box - (WT-en) Andrew Haggard (Sapphire) 14:12, 6 June 2006 (EDT)
UI = User Interface. -- (WT-en) Tom Holland (xltel) 14:27, 6 June 2006 (EDT)

I'd be happiest with the TOC anywhere outside the margins of the article content. Having it within those margins is what has frequently made page layout such a mess, because that forces images and quickbars and infoboxes to wrap around it. If we keep those all right-aligned, and keep the TOC out of their way, we should have much more predictably-rendered pages.

If the TOC is going to live in the left sidebar, I'd suggest it have the following order:

  • navigation/toolbox (condensed)
  • search
  • TOC
  • docents
  • related
  • other sites
  • other languages.

The condensed navigation/toolbox section could consist of only:

  • Main Page
  • Project Home
  • Random Page
  • What Links Here
  • Upload Image
  • Printable Version
  • Special Pages
  • Help

That's 8 items instead of the current 6 in navigation. Recent Changes and Today's Log are both on the Special Pages page, so they'd be easy for those of us who use them to find (or bookmark them). Permanent Link and Related Changes just don't seem generally useful to me. - (WT-en) Todd VerBeek 15:02, 6 June 2006 (EDT)

Technically combining the navigation and toolbox boxes is kind of tricky. So I'd rather move the contents than do this. --(WT-en) Evan 16:26, 6 June 2006 (EDT)
How about Todd's "If the TOC is going to live in the left sidebar"? Does that appeal any to you? - (WT-en) Andrew Haggard (Sapphire) 16:28, 6 June 2006 (EDT)
I think I just said, "no". The "toolbox" and "navigation" boxes are built from very different sections of the MediaWiki code, and making them work together would be a miserable experience. So, I was denying the premise, I guess. --(WT-en) Evan 19:02, 6 June 2006 (EDT)
I didn't really explain that as best as I could. I didn't mean meshing the toolbox or nav box, but placing the ToC and everything else in a different order:
  1. navigation
  2. search
  3. TOC
  4. toolbox
  5. docents
  6. related
  7. other sites
  8. other languages.
The suggested order isn't entirely dependent on combining the nav box and tool box; in fact that was an afterthought to it, as a way to put the most-useful items from the toolbox nearer the top. My thinking was that much of the toolbox is of limited usefulness (and those who want to use it know to look for it), but sections like "related" and "other sites" are getting lost down at the bottom, and I wanted to put them higher. - (WT-en) Todd VerBeek 20:50, 6 June 2006 (EDT)
I like the new layout, hated having a whole lot of TOC stuff at top of an article, consider pushing it off to the side an excellent idea. Left or right both OK visually. I somewhat prefer separating nav and TOC in the interface, consider that clearer and easier to use. However, if you have nav on left and TOC on right you use up a fair bit of real estate, especially since columns extend empty for the whole length of the article. That's not worth it. Overall, I end up with a mild preference for TOC on the left.
As I see it, though, there is one thing that desparately needs fixing in current layout. Move search above TOC! (WT-en) Pashley 22:00, 6 June 2006 (EDT)
The reason that I prefer the search bar above ToC is because I do a lot of surfing from one article to the next and the current location of the ToC is slightly annoying on longer articles because instead of just having the search bar at the top, now, I have to go scolling down to find it. This is really the only issue I have a problem with. Since the change I've changed my mind from hating it to slight content. I'd be much more happy and supportive if this one thing was changed, because it would make the website easier to use not only for me, but for you, and other users. That was what I was trying to stress in using TVerBeek's layout order. 1. Nav bar, 2. Search bar, 3. ToC. - (WT-en) Andrew Haggard (Sapphire) 22:21, 6 June 2006 (EDT)

One of the issues with any kind of substantial redesign of the site is the country quickbar. There's one on the article for pretty much every country or country-like object, and the majority of them are hard-coded HTML, which would be a pain to reformat, let alone move. The good news is that there's a Template:quickbar for making these that would enable us to reformat/reposition them at will, and it's already in place on nearly 100 (out of 250ish) country pages. (See, say, Montserrat for an example of what it does.) It will need to be implemented site-wide (replacing the hard-coded ones) if we're going to have any hope of a pain-free site redesign in the foreseeable future. So I'm asking people to help finish this process. Any time you edit a country page, if it has a puddle of ugly HTML at the top, replace it with the quickbar template. It's not terribly difficult; I've done dozens of them already. The most time-consuming part of it is looking up the usually-missing bits (which are all optional, but as long as you're there you might as well), and picking a pretty picture if you're so inclined. Here are some handy references: TLDs [3], electricity [4], calling codes, and time zones. - (WT-en) Todd VerBeek 13:58, 7 June 2006 (EDT)

Glad to know there's still stuff to do now that external links have been exterminated! ;-) I'll try and get on these... (WT-en) Majnoona 14:45, 7 June 2006 (EDT)
It give a lot of false-positives, but this link shows many of the pages that still include the HTML quick bar. -- (WT-en) Ryan 14:54, 7 June 2006 (EDT)

Let's move this page[edit]

I'm moving this discussion from Project:6 June 2006 to something more descriptive, like Project:Table of contents location or something, so that the community has a clearer idea of what we're talking aboot. Thanks for your understanding --(WT-en) Ricardo (Rmx) 14:43, 6 June 2006 (EDT)

Done. I hope this is a better title. (WT-en) Ricardo (Rmx) 15:00, 6 June 2006 (EDT)

Revert change now, decide later[edit]

Given the surprising amount of bad blood this issue has raised, and that there seems to be a fairly overwhelming consensus against at least the current form of the implementation, I'd like to gently suggest that Evan, you swallow your pride and revert the change. Then we can discuss in peace and in detail what the correct solution is, both for the ToC and the overall process of changing things here. (WT-en) Jpatokal 06:16, 7 June 2006 (EDT)

Yes, I think that's for the best, too. I'm also surprised by how important this change was to people, but I think it has more to do with how people participate in the technical decision-making on the site than with the actual placement of the ToC. I've rolled back the change for now, and we'll continue the discussion here. I'll put up a sandbox version of the site for people to comment on, and I'll get some statement of development policy and plans on the site, too.
I've learned a lot from this discussion, and I appreciate everyone's input. I hope we can work out a good solution for the specific problem of ToCs and the general issue of development policy. --(WT-en) Evan 12:44, 7 June 2006 (EDT)
We really know how to get our panties in a bunch don't we? - (WT-en) Andrew Haggard (Sapphire) 16:01, 7 June 2006 (EDT)

Is Contents Needed?[edit]

Just a quick question for everyone. This is a yes or no to see how everyone feels about TOC in general and if there is support for having a TOC. The question is "Do we need a TOC at all?" -- (WT-en) Tom Holland (xltel) 16:18, 7 June 2006 (EDT)

  • No -- (WT-en) Tom Holland (xltel) 16:18, 7 June 2006 (EDT)
  • No, though useful on large pages. (WT-en) OldPine 16:21, 7 June 2006 (EDT)
  • Definite Yes. Trying to find (for example) hotel information for United States is very simple with a TOC, but requires a ton of scrolling without. -- (WT-en) Ryan 17:31, 7 June 2006 (EDT)
  • Yes, for organization and ease of navigation, but by all means anchor it to the left margin. -- (WT-en) Haem85 17:45, 7 June 2006 (EDT)
  • "Need"? No. We don't "need" breadcrumbs or watchlists, either, but that isn't sufficient reason to get rid of something. I think it's useful, and yes it's worth some screen real estate (the key questions being location, location, and location). - (WT-en) Todd VerBeek 11:49, 8 June 2006 (EDT)
  • Sometimes yes, other times no. The ToC isn't important on small cities or even on regional/state articles, or even country articles however, they are important on articles for large cities like Cincinnati, New York. I really like Mark's idea, directly below, because it would also help with keeping the ads from being overly distractive. - (WT-en) Andrew Haggard (Sapphire) 15:34, 8 June 2006 (EDT)
  • Yes, and please leave the ToC where it is. Why don't we use Templates to move the ToC (Template:TOCleft or Template:TOCright, or __NOTOC__ if desired)? -- (WT-en) Steffen M. 06:34, 9 June 2006 (EDT)
Because moving the TOC from one place to another, and removing it arbitrarily, from one page to the next is bad interface design. - (WT-en) Todd VerBeek 13:39, 9 June 2006 (EDT)
What's an interface design? Can you explain it? I'm not really familiar with English language terms. -- (WT-en) Steffen M. 18:02, 9 June 2006 (EDT)
It's how things are laid out on a computer screen, and how the user interacts with it. For example, every Windows program has an "X" in the upper right corner of the window for you to close it, a menu with File/Edit/View/.../Window/Help along the top for you to select commands from, and so on. If sometimes the menu was along the top and other times it was along the bottom or sometimes it was hidden (don't get me started about what's wrong with IE7), or if sometimes the menu was Help/File/.../Window/View/Edit, or if the "X" was in the upper left corner, people would find it more confusing. A good user interface is as consistent as possible from one situation to the next. - (WT-en) Todd VerBeek 18:13, 9 June 2006 (EDT)
  • Yes. When reviewing changes made by new users, I often see formatting, spelling, or whatever that could use a little fixing up. The commit Summary helpfully tells me which section it is in, but I really don't want to play hunt the wumpus to find it -- clicking on the TOC helps. Additionally, for more normal users, they may be looking for a place to stay nearby a city. It helps that when the go through the region looking for a place to stay, that they can use the TOC to navigate rather than scanning the article for each nearby city. In my opinion, sticking this in the Right Column solves the problems associated with it taking up space. -- (WT-en) Colin 19:02, 9 June 2006 (EDT)
  • Yes, absolutely. (WT-en) Pashley 05:32, 21 June 2006 (EDT)

Right column, thanks... etc.[edit]

I'm still a big fan of creating a right column for the TOC. It would be out of the way there, but still accessable. Meanwhile, thinking ahead, it creates an ideal location for the eventual advertising. In fact if Evan and IB are clever about this (I know that Evan is clever in general) they could run ads all the way down the rest of the right column below the TOC and use the local context for placement. So there could be sleep related ads next to the sleep section, etc. Of course I don't know if AdSense is quite that sensitive, but it's worth thinking about.

Anyhow, I still don't feel all that strongly about the TOC. I do however super-appreciate the support for my earlier re-design from some quarters. Thanks!

Also I'm really glad that this discussion has provided Evan with an opportunity to demonstrate that he really is listening to us. Thanks Evan. -- (WT-en) Mark 13:02, 8 June 2006 (EDT)

It is possible to wrap text, etc. around the TOC[edit]

This way you can leave it exaclty where it is and get rid of the whitespace. Evan, look at the stylesheets for my two-column layout. You'll also want to look at the PHP where i've taken the TOC out of its own table and built it with a list instead.

This works on all of the major browsers in use right now, so I see no problem using it.

Now, getting it over into the right column was hard but clearly it's doable. And like I said before it gives you an obvious place to put ads. Can you enumerate your objections to doing it that way? Thanks! -- (WT-en) Mark 02:13, 10 June 2006 (EDT)

I like it in the LHC with the other navitorial stuff, but I'm also happy having it on the right, and it sounds like the least objectionable solution for everyone except Steffen. I'm going to try to get a review version going with the ToC there next week. Now that I've got the code that snags out the ToC data from the content area, it's not particularly hard to move it anywhere. --(WT-en) Evan 10:08, 10 June 2006 (EDT)

Review version on right-hand side[edit]

There's a version on the Review site with the ToC pulled to the right-hand side. --(WT-en) Evan 13:04, 29 June 2006 (EDT)

Evan, I'm getting a very weird look. I can see the ToC on the right, but the article itself is pushed further to the left and some of the text appears under "navigation", "search" and "tool box" bars. - (WT-en) Andrew Haggard (Sapphire) 13:16, 29 June 2006 (EDT)
Here's my screen shot in case you don't see what I see. -- (WT-en) Andrew Haggard (Sapphire) 13:23, 29 June 2006 (EDT)
Can you hit "shift+reload" and/or "control+reload" so that the stylesheet is reloaded? --(WT-en) Evan 13:26, 29 June 2006 (EDT)
Nope. Neither "shift+reload" or "control+reload" worked. Is there anything else I could try? -- (WT-en) Andrew Haggard (Sapphire) 13:29, 29 June 2006 (EDT)
I did try to clear the cache but I can't click yes to purge, because the button is behind the nav bar. -- (WT-en) Andrew Haggard (Sapphire) 13:30, 29 June 2006 (EDT)
OK. I guess this is with your IE7beta version, right? I'll see what I can do to debug. It seems to work OK with IE6 and Firefox, I haven't tested with Opera, Safari, or Konqueror yet. ---(WT-en) Evan 13:48, 29 June 2006 (EDT)
Right, IE 7 Beta 2. I'll see if there are any downloads too. -- (WT-en) Andrew Haggard (Sapphire) 13:49, 29 June 2006 (EDT)
Looks fine with Safari 1.3 and 2.0. In Konqueror 3.4 the article/discussion/edit/history tabs are a little off, but otherwise it looks good. It falls apart rather badly (the body instead shifted to the right) on IE:Mac 5.2, which a depressingly substantial number of people are still using. It looks fine on Opera 9... interestingly, that's the only one I've tried that shows me the second-level TOC items (e.g. "By air"). - (WT-en) Todd VerBeek 15:00, 29 June 2006 (EDT)
  • I vote for the change provided that little bug can be fixed. The ToC is the only thing that I can clearly see on the review site. - Sapphire
I've got two issues, one big, one I haven't made up my mind on yet. The first (big) one is that the second-level headings ("By air", "Splurge", etc) seem to be gone, and for very long articles those are really useful. The second issue, and the one I'm more up in the air about, is that if this change is supposed to eliminate whitespace, we now have a TON of whitespace along the right side of the page. That said, given the alternatives below, I'm not sure what the least-worst-case would be:
  1. Float the TOC on the top right of the page and let article text flow around it. This may not work well with quickbars, but we may be able to work around it with the quickbar template.
  2. Put the TOC in the left navigation column. I'm not a fan as it seems too hidden, but others feel differently.
  3. Put the TOC in a new right-side column (as it's currently done in the review site). This seems to add a lot of empty space along the right side of the screen.
  4. Leave the TOC where it is. This adds a lot of empty space at the top of articles.
  5. A fifth option I haven't thought of.
If we could find a way to elegantly implement #1 above then I think I'm most in favor of that solution since it wastes the least space. Others may have different ideas, and I don't care enough about this issue to start burning villages and pilfering the Nordic coastline over it - just throwing in my two cents worth. -- (WT-en) Ryan 15:25, 29 June 2006 (EDT)
Weirdly, though I'm having issues on IE 7 I can perfectly see the "By air" second level headings. Furthermore, I can also see the third level and fourth level headings on Singapore. -- (WT-en) Andrew Haggard (Sapphire) 15:30, 29 June 2006 (EDT)
The stylesheet that I'm seeing has the following code in it:
ul[compact~="compact"] {
display[colon] none;
Unless I'm mistaken, that hides the specified content from Firefox. Not sure how IE would handle it, although if you're seeing it then I guess IE is ignoring the "display[colon]none". -- (WT-en) Ryan 15:36, 29 June 2006 (EDT)

The problem isn't "whitespace"; it's "ugly and evil whitespace". The whitespace along the right edge doesn't look bad (in fact, I think it's a good thing visually, balancing the whitespace on the left), nor does it hide most of the article contents down "below the fold", which is what's wrong with the current layout.
Aside from the CSS bugs in various browsers, I do have a graphic-design gripe: the vertical alignment of the contents box. It lines up with the top of the navigation bar, but that's way on the other side of the page, and without the logo above it as a space holder, or anything else nearby that it lines up with, its vertical placement instead looks random. (On country pages it also doesn't line up with the top of the quickbar, making those look more awkward.) Lining it up with the top of the article box, would at least give it a visual "anchor". (And of course one needs anchors if one is going to go pilfer the Nordic coastline.) - (WT-en) Todd VerBeek 15:42, 29 June 2006 (EDT)
Lessee... I'm not quite sure what level to respond at, so I'll respond to all at once: Ryan, the hidden sub-menus are by design; I'm going to add in some Javascript to make them twist-open. I like them closed by default; do you think it'd be better to have them open by default? w/r/t floating right: I was specifically concerned about messing with the layout. I'm of the opinion that it's time to get the dang ToC out of the way of content once and for all, but I could be convinced otherwise. Andrew: yes, IE7 is ignoring the CSS for the list. I'm not sure how to fix that one, either. Todd: agree on the vertical alignment. --(WT-en) Evan 16:53, 29 June 2006 (EDT)
Given another day to ponder, I'd say go for it with this change once the bugs are worked out. The huge amount of whitespace on the right side takes some getting used to, but I think it's preferable to the current TOC layout. Also, if the TOC is going to be in "collapsed" mode by default it might be nice if there was a preference to change it (kind of like the current "hide/show" link) but that's not really that important of an issue to me, just more of a "nice to have". -- (WT-en) Ryan 18:40, 30 June 2006 (EDT)

FYI: I'm seeing a few pages where the TOC is coming up blank. Italy has everything in the list set to "compact", and Montserrat not only has them all hidden, but the list items themselves seem to be pulled from... some other article, I think. ("Outback driving" on a li'l Caribbean island?) - (WT-en) Todd VerBeek 19:21, 29 June 2006 (EDT)

Review version with twist-down menus[edit]

So, I've gotten around to getting back to this feature, and I've got a review version up at . You can check out, for example, .

There are still some twiddles that need to be done -- I'd like to align the list items better, clear up some whitespace on the left of the ToC, and make sure that it works in IE7 -- but this is essentially what I think we've decided on from previous discussions.

Comments, questions, criticisms, support? --(WT-en) Evan 12:14, 16 November 2006 (EST)

I like it, with one small request - can triangle images be made smaller? They look disproportionately large to me, and take up a significant amount of limited screen real-estate. -- (WT-en) Ryan 13:52, 16 November 2006 (EST)
Yeah, of course. I re-used the arrows from the the enhanced recent changes interface, but I should probably do some custom ones. --(WT-en) Evan 15:40, 16 November 2006 (EST)
It's all messed up in IE 7. Check out this screenshot and this one. The actual article is pushed down below the TOC and left side menus. I like the look in Firefox, but have to say it's a no-go until the IE issues are resolved. -- (WT-en) Sapphire 16:01, 16 November 2006 (EST)
There are some fairly big and small problems in Firefox that may or may not be caused by the TOC alignment on Review. Most notably, if you click "edit" the edit box is no more than two lines in height. I'll upload a screen shot under Image:Reviewedit.PNG. The other problem I noticed is if you click on the Cincinnati guide in Review. Scroll down to the second image, that's directly below the "Please" infobox. Part of the text gets covered up by the second image. -- (WT-en) Sapphire 16:14, 16 November 2006 (EST)

Moving this page[edit]

I'd like to move the contents of this page to wts:WtTech:Table of contents makes too much whitespace, if there are no objections. That would put it in the now-standard area for technical discussions, and make it easier for non-English-speakers to find. --(WT-en) Evan 12:11, 16 November 2006 (EST)

Agreed—I had never seen this discussion before now, 5 years later! Barring objections, I will do this shortly. --(WT-en) Peter Talk 23:50, 30 September 2011 (EDT)
Except the TOC doesn't take up whitespace anymore. At some point between the end of these discussions and today, it was changed to float to the left of the opening paragraph instead of forcing the first non-lead section down (as occurs on Wikipedia). (WT-en) LtPowers 08:37, 1 October 2011 (EDT)
Yes, this is now just a question of archiving. --(WT-en) Peter Talk 14:45, 1 October 2011 (EDT)