Reading/Mobile Friendly Content/Project Status

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About[edit]

This page is designed to keep stakeholders updated on the status of efforts to make Wikipedia content more mobile friendly.

This process was borne of cross-team discussions within the WMF in order to understand the problem (with a few known, interested parties asked to attend), but there is no reason this process or programs within it should be limited to WMFers. One of the bullet points here is to work more closely with community on this moving forward.

Current Status[edit]

Overall:

  1. We are going to focus on general template styling capabilities (rather than specific issues like tables, media and hovers) by allowing and promoting device-level styling in templates.
  2. This is not immediately in conflict with semantic markup--as that can't possibly cover all of the use cases.  This will cover all and then semantic can cover high-profile instances like infoboxes.
  3. Using template styles, we are going to focus on specific issue like "signpost" first and fix it and then learn from that (as oppose to starting with broad approaches or broad research)

Next steps:

  • Template CSS update - Coren got a job! Reading infrastructure shepherding it through
  • Best practices and documentation (Nirzar to own)
  • Programmatic outreach (Toby and Moushira)
    • Meeting set up with CE 5/26
  • Down the line: Add a preview that generates awareness (Trevor to own). It is possible that a preview might fit well into other plans - potentially collaborating with existing community stakeholders

Update as of December 2016[edit]

On the foundation side, starting in January, the reading infrastructure team will be building off the work that Coren started earlier in the year to get the Template Styles extension past security review and address any community concerns.  If you remember from our previous conversations, this is the first stage of several that we identified towards addressing this problem.

  • The english wikipedia held a Village Pump discussion about the mobile view preview. - the outcome was that there was interest, but disagreement about implementation.  The summarizer concluded that adding a "mobile button' to the existing "mobile sidebar preview" was the proper outcome.
  • At Wikimania in July:
    • A workshop on article layout was held that ended up delving deeply into these issues.  Description here, notes here.
    • Nirzar and I presented on several of these issues at Wikimania and there was a workshop on mobile
  • French Wikipedia put out an on-wiki poll about what the problems and potential solutions were for improving the mobile rendering of articles.  They mostly consisted of specific reformatting, such as putting the text over the infobox on mobile.  This is currently in beta: T145216
  • Mobile previews was proposed by the DJ in the community wishlist survey and got 20 votes, placing it in the top 100.
  • The reading mobile web team have put a lot of work into mobile article format on the web, including: research into value of collapsed versus uncollapsed sections, wikidata descriptions under titles, footer fixes, new header research, and moving the lead paragraph above the infobox

If you look above at the plan for addressing the issue that we identified in our meetings this spring you can see that programmatic outreach and best styling practices represent the next big hurdle, but there is no reason further work on the mobile preview cannot happen in parallel.

Meeting Notes[edit]

May 12th, 2016[edit]

Present: Toby, Gergo, Trevor, Josh, Dmitry, Bernd, Jon K, Jon R, Moushira, Adam, TheDJ, Nirzar

Just following up on last week's meeting on mobile content presentation.  We quickly reviewed the results of last meeting and jumped right into decision-making.  Awesome.

The usual links:

Overall:

  1. We are going to focus on general template styling capabilities (rather than specific issues like tables and hovers) by allowing and promoting device-level styling in templates.
  2. This is not immediately in conflict with semantic markup--as that can't possibly cover all of the use cases.  This will cover all and then semantic can cover high-profile instances like infoboxes.
  3. Using template styles, we are going to focus on specific issue like "signpost" first and fix it and then learn from that (as oppose to starting with broad approaches or broad research)

Next steps:

  • Template CSS update - community is doing this, we help ensure it gets merged/deployed  (Jon R to own helping shepherd)
  • Best practices and documentation (Nirzar to own)
  • Programmatic outreach (Toby and Moushira)
  • Down the line: Add a preview that generates awareness (Trevor to own). It is possible that a preview might fit well into other plans
  • Monthly meetings with optional attendees to continue for now, primarily as a check-in

Misc

Since the meeting, 2 things have come up:

  1. TheDJ posted this in our meeting notes:  Post meeting Idea: https://phabricator.wikimedia.org/T483#2289858 by TheDJ
  2. Josh raised the ideas that we should think of this the way that governments and NGO's approach public health initiatives where the technical solution is really just the beginning and the real challenge is culture change, since we lack mandate or manpower for anything else.  An excerpt of the analogy below:

April 7th, 2016[edit]

Present: Toby, Gergo, Trevor, Marius, Dmitry, Bernd, Jon K, Jon R, Moushira, Adam

Thanks to those of you who made it to the meeting on Thursday to discuss how content is displayed on mobile.  For those who didn't our meeting notes are here:

The purpose was to identify the problems impacting mobile presentation of content, to identify the possible solution set and to surface any disagreements.  We seemed to feel that the solution set seemed to represent what the group had come up with to date, but that we should really talk to key stakeholders (editors and template editors) before moving forward.

The next steps, as identified in the meeting, are:

  • Map out problems and solutions for digestions and post them on Mediawiki (JK to coordinate)
  • Expand discussion/research
    • editor engagement (Moushira and JK), template-editor engagement, tech discussion
    • reader research
  • Logistics
    • Meet in a month (decide then if we want more monthly) (JK to setup)