Wikimedia Foundation Readers Web team brings contribution tools to mobile
In early 2018 the trend was clear: more people were accessing Wikipedia from a mobile device than desktop. This helped our team recognize the importance of improving the mobile editing experience in order to provide access to necessary tools for editors – particularly for people where a mobile device is their only device. Seeing that the needs of new editors are different from those of existing editors we decided to break the work up by audience and focus on advanced editors – editors that were familiar with the tools and would benefit from easier access on the mobile web.
For the last year, the Readers web team has been focused on empowering existing editors to be able to do more on the mobile web version of Wikipedia. We began our work at the Wikimedia Hackathon 2018 in Barcelona and Wikimania 2018 in Cape Town, where we interviewed editors in order to learn what features would (and wouldn’t) be helpful for them on mobile. We then created a prototype of a mobile website with additional editor features and collected feedback on it via our MediaWiki project page.
We tested our prototype with more than 60 editors. The response to the design was overwhelmingly positive, and included some great suggestions as well as raising some valid concerns. We collected the feedback and integrated it into our final designs.
Based on initial research, past requests from communities, and this prototype feedback, the team decided to focus on the navigation of the site and access to special pages.
We began with introducing the Article/Discussion tabs at the top of the page.
The feature was first released as an opt-in setting on Arabic, Indonesian, and Spanish Wikipedias due to their relatively large populations of existing mobile editors.
These links provide more visibility to the discussions that take place around article creation. Previously a link to the discussion page was a small link at the bottom of the article page.
You can see edits being made by contributors with this mode enabled by selecting the
#Advanced mobile edit tag on Recent changes (Example from Spanish Wikipedia).
Recently the team released a second set of features and included additional Wikipedias for testing and feedback (Italian, Japanese, Persian, and Thai).
These new features include:
- Article and Discuss tabs at the top of all pages.
- An enhanced toolbar (at the top of article and user pages), with a link to page history, and a new menu that contains other useful actions and links such as page information, wikidata item, permalink, what links here, Special:Cite, and more.
- An updated main menu with links to Special pages and the Community portal.
- Fully featured history pages, formatted for mobile screens.
There are more features to come, including a new user menu, an improved Recent changes page, and other small bug fixes.
We plan to release these features to all wikis in the near future. If you’re an editor on one of the seven listed Wikipedias, you can enable the Advanced mobile contribution setting and try the features out for yourself.
So far the feedback on these features has been positive. The opt-out rate has been very low. This means that the people who have tried it do like and use the improvements. We hope you’ll be one of them too! Try it out and please tell others about these features. If you have any questions you can find out more on the project page. Feedback is welcome.