Personal tools

Edit This Page

From Social Patterns

Jump to: navigation, search

Contents

Example

3340871907_44d7994300_o.png
A button or link inviting the reader to edit this page encourages collaboration (and lowers the threshold for making improvements by reducing the friction involved in offering edits).

What

The more difficult it is to edit a shared document, the fewer people will bother to do so. Even forcing people to switch contexts (to an "editing mode") will create a barrier to participation for a significant fraction of potential contributors.

aka "Edit This, "Universal Edit Button," "Inline Editing," "Read-Write Web," "Two-Way Web"

When

Use this pattern in interfaces for editing shared or personal documents. May be used in contexts that permit universal editing, anonymous editing, or registered, authenticated, and privileged editing.

How

Provide a button or link on any editable content that links directly to an edit box for the content, preferably without even loading a new page.

3340906333_c151965fe8_o.png
If an edit box can be displayed directly in the reader's original context, the experience of making and saving an edit and then resuming reading is smoother than if the editing must be done in a separate context.

Optionally, when restricting editing only to privileged groups, hide the button from anyone who has not been authenticated as a contributor.

Special Cases

When trying to cultivate a culture of collaborative editing, community moderators may need to make an extra effort to recruit, campaign, encourage contributions. By default many people are passive even when invited to edit content, afraid to break something or give offense to a preceding editor. The interface should be as inviting as possible, but be prepared to challenge incumbent behavioral patterns.

Offer a "sandbox" area for beginners where they can practice editing safely without worrying about damaging anything or exposing themselves to criticism.

3340925397_2c6e046550_o.png
Giving your collaborators a sandbox in which to practice their editing skills can ease the slope of the learning curve and take some of the fear out of inline editing.

Why

The great promise of the web draw in part from its facilitation of two-way communication and collaboration across geographical and other boundaries. An interface element that invites the reader to become an author goes beyond the "second-class" forms of participation, such as giving feedback and ratings. The easier you make it to edit content, the more likely people will bother to do so and potentially spur each other on to build knowledge stores and other projects that might otherwise never have come into being.

Related Patterns

As Seen On

Sources / Similar Patterns in Other Libraries