Wikimedia Apps/Team/Android/Communication

From mediawiki.org
Android app article talk page
Android app user talk page
Android app talk page reply field
Android native talk experience [gif]
Android app article talk page [animated gif]

Background[edit]

In February 2021, the Android team released the first version of talk pages in the app. This was the first phase of what will be a part of a year-long project to improve communication in the Android app. The Epic (big plan) for the original work is available at T252556. You can find the full Android roadmap.

This project page will be updated as we take investigate the limitations of communication through Android and ensure we follow community conventions at the same time as we find a good communication experience for mobile devices.

The current communication-related features in Android includes article and user talk pages, watchlists and Echo notifications. While these features are available, we are aware they can be improved and plan to make improvements during the Communication phase of our roadmap.

For the improvements to communication features portion of our roadmap, we will specifically partner with the following audiences:

  • English Wikipedia users/editors in India and Nigeria
  • Arabic and French Wikipedia users/editors in Morocco, Egypt, DR Congo and Mali
  • Hindi Wikipedia users/editors
  • Indonesian Wikipedia users/editors
  • Japanese Wikipedia

By explicitly partnering with these groups we will be able to determine if features impact different demographics in different ways and expose possible equity issues in our development. We will also evaluate how our features impact Android users overall, while being mindful of implications for cross platform users.

Despite having explicit partner groups define, we welcome feedback and partnership from all Android app users.

Roadmap[edit]

Notifications[edit]

During this phase of our work, we will ensure that Notifications are easy to find and that the notification home center is comprehensive.

Completed

  • In-article notifications link [Complete]
  • System-level preferences [Complete]
  • Bell icon and red dot indicator [Complete]
  • Surfacing IP notifications
  • Refreshed notification home center with search and filter [Complete]

Messaging interface[edit]

Once we have confirmed that users are adequately aware of any notifications they have received from other editors or the system, we will focus on making sure users can easily start or reply to discussions in the app. It is important that the interface and workflows are comprehensive and easy to navigate for their given contexts and goals.

Proposed Features

  • @ mentions and ping [Complete]
  • More discoverable talk page entry points [Blocked]
  • Reading focus mode [Complete]
  • Customizable quick actions [Complete]
  • Visual distinction between article talk pages and user talk pages [Complete]
  • Ability to delete conversations [Complete]
  • Support for accessing project talk pages [Complete]
  • Ability to sort and search talk pages [Complete]
  • Improved performance [Complete]
  • Read and search archived conversations [Complete]
  • Smart Threading [Complete]
  • Topic subscriptions
  • Native Edit History and Contribution History [Complete]

Onboarding and guidance[edit]

The team will evaluate tooltips, system level notifications and onboarding to ensure the experience is helpful and properly timed.

Connecting communities and interests[edit]

This phase of our work is more experimental with the aim of connecting users based on shared interests, responsibly lowering barriers for meaningful collaboration, third party integration and platform parity that doesn't detract from a mobile first experience.

Proposed Features

  • Portal support [Blocked]
  • Campaign support
  • Mass mentions [Removed]
  • Mute notifications from identified users [Removed]
  • Community dashboard with the mentorship module attributes [Removed]
  • Third-party support

How to follow along[edit]

We have created T273253 as our Phabricator Epic to track early improvements to the talk pages in the Android app before we do our full evaluation. We welcome feedback as we are building on the first release and plan to do an in-depth investigation of communication through Android devices April – June 2021 in order to make improvements through next year.

Updates[edit]

October 2022[edit]

The team improved edit summaries by adding links to help pages to describe what a minor edit, watch list and edit summary is. We chose to send people to Meta and MediaWiki to be inclusive of all languages T296952. We also added help links for article descriptions T315702.

Edit-summary in Wikipedia mobile app.

September 2022[edit]

As we transition to other parts of our roadmap, our work on communications this month consists mostly of bug fixes specifically, we fixed bugs related to:

  • The format of a ping being broken when pressing enter when @ mentioning another user T317132.
  • Showing template styles contents in message preview T317415.
  • Pre-populating @ mentioning when replying to a comment from a user on their own talk page T315381.
  • Solving Talk page metadata inconsistencies in some pages T315400.
  • Linking to non-existent user pages from notifications and not displaying the appropriate error page. This also fixed the issue where the user name would sometimes be presented as null T315940.

August 2022[edit]

  • As we are working to implement talk page enhancements, we updated the coffee roll to be more distinguishable from the rest of the topics on the discussion page, more details can be found in T310801.
  • We removed the duplication of the word user at the top of the screen T313890.
Removing the duplication of the word user at the top of the screen-Wikipedia's Android application

July 2022- Onboarding Survey details and minor bug fixes and enhancements[edit]

Onboarding Survey

The Android team ran an in-app survey to gain an understanding of which features may need onboarding or tooltips for exposure.

Why did we do this?

The Android team recently introduced a lot of new or enhanced functionality to the app. Watchlist, Talk pages, Revision history, and Notifications – to name a few of them.

We want to evaluate if the current onboarding tools are appropriate, as, over the years, onboarding methods have evolved or diverged.

With this work, we also want to get an overview of the available functionality, review and prioritize it, and examine if certain features need more or less discoverability or onboarding interventions. Improving assistance and guidance is part of our goal of enhancing the communication experience on Android from the perspective of enhancing the system’s communication with the user .

Who are we targeting?

We are targeting app users (newcomers) that have set their primary app language to:

  • Arabic
  • Hindi
  • Japanese
  • Indonesian
  • French
  • English

Ideally in our target regions for qualitative research:

  • India (English and Hindi)
  • Morocco, Egypt, DR Congo, and Mali (French & Arabic)
  • Nigeria (English)
  • Indonesia
  • Japan

What do we want to find out?

  • What features are people familiar with?
  • What features have people used?
  • What features do people use most often?
  • Which features are missing?

All of the above is in the context of the Wikipedia Android app.

How do we find out?

We will show a link to a Google Form survey in the app, similar to what we’ve done in T291850. The survey will be translated to AR, HI, ID, JA, and FR and shown to the audience defined in ”Who are we targeting?”

Minor Bug Fixes and Enhancements

-We worked on other enhancements and bug fixes like:

Improvements to talk pages:

Improvements to talk pages-July 2022 update.png
  • Adding new entry points to access the article page and edit history with smooth clicks (T310804).
  • Users can now access archived talk page messages(T275917).

June 2022- Significant visual enhancements to Talk pages, Customizable Toolbar updates, Namespace Search addition and Revision History improvements[edit]

Significant Visual Enhancements to Talk Pages[edit]

The team released our most significant visual enhancements to talk pages. The first significant update was improvements to threading in the the user and article talk subject view (T303254):

  • Smart Threading- instead of a new indent being created each time someone replies, which can be hard to read on mobile devices after the fifth indent, Android users will now see collapsable threading with a line to indicate the continuation of a conversation.
  • Message Anatomy- when selecting a username, a dialog will pop up with destination options including a user talk page, user page, or user contributions. A reply to a user message is more clearly defined
  • Inline Replies- the floating action button to initiate a reply in the subject view has been removed and reply buttons are now nested under messages to enforce the behavior of people reading a message first, and then replying. This also makes it easier for people to determine at which level they’d like to reply.
  • Topic Subscriptions- is a new feature conceptualized by the Editing team based on their talk page consultations. The Android team brought the new feature into the app with this release. Android app users can now subscribe to conversations in order to receive a notification when a talk page thread has been updated
  • Find in Page- an option to find text in a page has been added to the overflow menu, and works the same as someone searching notifications (T307378)
  • Edit Source- due to technical limitations there was no easy way for us to allow users to “delete” a comment, an action common on most apps. To address this issue, we added an edit source option to the overflow menu, which will allow users to modify or delete a comment
  • Copy and Sharing- users can now copy text of a message to their clipboard via the overflow menu of a message, and we’ve added deep linking, so not only can someone share a thread, they can also share a specific message in a thread

The next significant update to talk pages on Android was making a visual distinction between user and article talk pages (T297617). The team decided to make user and article talk pages visually distinct in December 2021 based on a talk page survey and usability testing results. Preliminary designs were also shared in January 2022.

The visual distinctions between user and article talk pages include:

  • Header image- in the article talk page header users will see an image, when available from the article they were reading. This is to visually associate that the discussion for the talk page should be centered on edits to the article. User talk pages do not have an image in the header because it is very uncommon for user pages to have images and a user talk page can be used to discuss a wide array of things.
  • App Bar- while both talk page enhancements include additions to the app bar and overflow menu like watch, share and edit history, the app bar of the article talk page features a link to the article.
  • Metadata- to promote the concept of user talk pages being a space of general conversation, we display names of users for people to have an idea at a thread level who is involved in a talk page conversation. Alternatively, on article talk pages we do not show what users are involved in a topic before clicking through to the subject view. Emphasis for an article talk page is placed on the subject and how many people have replied to the thread.

Beyond these visual distinctions, there were other general updates added to talk pages like being able to sort by date published, date updated and topic name. We made a visual distinction in articles to templates so it could be seen as instructional. We also ensured users could easily navigate to an article from a talk page (T302148).

Customizable Toolbar[edit]

While working on Talk Page enhancements the Android team realized the addition of new features were not as discoverable and there was a growing difference in preference of what features were readily available in the toolbar. The team wrote about the process of developing customizable toolbar and reading focus mode in detail on Medium. Since the results of the A/B test revealed that our best course of action was to place the entry point to customize the toolbar in the overflow menu, our team has worked on tooltips to let Android app users know about the new feature (T306709).

AB Test of Customizable toolbar

Namespace Search[edit]

The team wanted to provide better support for project pages and portals in the app as a pathway to promote communication and collaboration in the application based on our Communication project goals. Due to constraints beyond the team’s control, we were unable to build the interface envisioned at this time but will revisit it at a later date. In the interim, we were able to make namespaces more discoverable. Many users in the app have not edited before and are not familiar with the concept of namespaces. We do have to balance revealing these wiki concepts and not disrupting the goal of readers to find articles to learn and share. As a middle ground for introducing this concept in a way that isn’t intrusive and within the confines of our technical constraints, the team appended namespaces to the search bar while ensuring there is multilingual support for the feature (T308750).

Namespaces (user, help, and portal) appended to search bar in Android App
Namespace appended to search bar

Related to search, the team fixed a bug where recent searches were missing (T311320).  

Revision History[edit]

While conducting work for Communications improvements, the team built native Revision History. The full details can be found under the May updates on the Communications project page. In the first release of native revision history the undo button and rollback button was hidden behind a feature flag. This allowed the team to work out the color contrast to ensure it was compliant for color blind users, while balancing not promoting the behavior of selecting undo in a way that could become harmful (T303547). Additionally, we took the time to think through a confirmation page for undo and rollback.

If a user does not have rollback permissions they will observe an undo button next to the thanks button. If a user has rollback privileges, they will see the rollback button in place of undo, and undo will be nested in the overflow menu with share edit and watch. We moved the undo button to the overflow menu for rollbackers to accommodate people that may have small screens.

We also added a search and filtering function to the revision history page (T299234) to create parity with the web.

Big Fixes and UX improvements[edit]

We also fixed some minor bugs and UX improvements to edit notices, user pages, talk pages and contribution history pages:

  • Fixed a bug where talk pages weren’t opening correctly after opening an in-article link with an anchor (T310562).
  • Updated icons in contribution history to be more accurate based on contribution type (T308755)
  • Made user page error message more specific (T295071)
  • Contribution history button in Suggested edits was cut off (T3098650)
  • Properly handle TemplateStyles editnotices (T3096810)

Hide editing calls to action when Reading focus mode is enabled (T307373)

May 2022 – Release of Revision History and Customizable Toolbar User Testing Results[edit]

We released Native Revision History which included the ability to filter by edit type, select two revisions in order to go to a diff screen, and an ability to view the statistics of an article's edit history.

The team fixed an issue with REST endpoints not handling requests from ka.wikipedia.org with Georgian titles (T301600). We fixed an issue where the wrong tab preview would sometimes be displayed (T305912). There was performance issues with updating the name and description of reading lists that we addressed (T305555). We also improved syncing of reading lists across OS mobile devices (T301744).

Results of customizable toolbar testing (T302883):

  • We’re going to move forward with Variant B, as expected usage of the feature is low, and to have one more shortcut in the toolbar.
  • Most participants mentioned that they would not use the feature often; that’s why we keep changes to the existing version minimal (see T306709 for action items). We keep the way shortcuts are ordered (see the production version of the app).
  • Similar to the debates we had in the team, there is no clear winner out of the two variants. The preference depends on what people are used to in the services/apps they use.
  • We evaluate that the advantage of having space for another item in the toolbar in variant B outweighs the slightly better discoverability and the significant engineering effort of A.
Customizable Toolbar Variants

Summary and recommendations:

  • 6 out 10 participants prefer variant A, for the following reasons:
    • Overflow menu at the top reminds him of an internet page, would not go to look for it at the top if it wasn’t indicated, the bottom variant is less confusing, would be ok with B as well.
    • “It’s awesome”, ****it was easier to understand and find.
    • Likes this version better as it consolidate options in one place at the bottom.
    • The options are closer together, it works very well, people would benefit from the feature, maybe grouping could be helpful?.
    • It’s easy to understand how to find the customize option, is confused by variant B.
    • Expects the customization of the toolbar where the toolbar is, realizes that you loose 1 item in the toolbar in this version, but “you really don’t need more than 4 in the toolbar”.
  • 4 out 10 participants prefer variant B, for the following reasons:
    • Literally suggested variant B during his test, prefers 1 more item in the toolbar, gives more flexibility.
    • One more link the bottom toolbar, a lot of people have a habit to click at the top menu to look for things.
    • It’s similar to Google Chrome.
  • Most participants would not use the feature often. Here are reasons:
    • Would probably customize his toolbar just once or twice, and wouldn’t regularly use it again even though it’s a really good feature.
    • Would use the feature 2-3 times and thinks it would improve the experience.
    • Would use it once.
    • Thinks that not everyone would use the feature since a lot of people would use the default settings (20% of people would use it).
    • Would not change her links very often, maybe change it 1 or 2 time thing. (every few months), will likely need time to find out which are her favorites.
    • Would not use the feature that often, e.g. once a month or more, is confused by variant B.
    • Wouldn’t use it a lot, just uses it to switch the theme, only uses the ‘Language’ and ‘Find in page’ feature.
    • Wouldn’t mess with it too much but would use it until she figured out her preferences.

April 2022 – Addition of Categories[edit]

In 2016, the community requested to add categories into the app via the 2016 Community Wishlist. This request resurfaced again in 2022, and during a team inspiration week our Lead Engineer, DBrant, developed a prototype. After rounds of design improvements and additional product requirements, we released access to Categories and Sub Categories in the app.

The team removed the tooltip for notifications because it was clashing with other tooltips and our team is about to revamp onboarding and tooltips holistically (T303975).

We fixed bugs that related to menus not being able to open while in split screen mode (T305346).

March 2022 – Sort and Search on Talk Pages, Starting Onboarding project, Testing Reading Focus Mode and Customizable Toolbar[edit]

During our March releases we started incremental updates to talk pages ahead of the refresh. The updates included search and sort at the topic level. Users are able to sort by Topic, date updated and date published.

Talk Page Sort and Search V1

In March the team started initial research to improve onboarding and guidance in the app. It was clear from our research for other features and requests made through the play store for features that existed in the app that improvements needed to be made to exposing features at the right time. Our first step for these improvements was to take stock of our existing onboarding prompts and tooltips.

Inventory of Onboarding prompts in Android

In January we created the first version of Reading Focus Mode. Before releasing reading focus mode to production we wanted to ensure users were able to successfully turn reading focus mode off in order to edit. As we tested reading focus mode we also evaluated the usability of the customizable toolbar.

Observations

What works?[edit]

1. Onboarding / language

   - Tooltip is displayed for all participants
   - One candidate (FR) appreciated the full screen onboarding when editing article descriptions for the first time. This should be explored further in onboarding and guidance phase ([T301397](https://phabricator.wikimedia.org/T301397))

2. Reading focus mode

   - Reading focus mode disabled by default as participants learned how it works
   - 4/5 understood what the reading focus mode setting does, understood differences when the mode is enabled
   - 5/5 had no issues going back to editing after turning on reading focus mode
   - 4/5 like the ‘Reading focus mode’ feature

3. Customize toolbar

   - Once arrived in the customization screen, 5/5 understood what the screen does.
   - 5/5 figured out how to drag&drop items (but 3/5 were dragging the labels first)

What doesn’t work?[edit]

1. General / Onboarding / Language

   - Tooltip wasn’t noticed by 4/5, participants scrolled and the tooltip disappeared

2. Reading focus mode

   - Likely related to the tooltip that disappeared → 3/5 participants had issues discovering the ‘Reading focus mode’ setting

3. Customize toolbar - Language: ‘actions and destinations’ in the task was confusing to almost all participants

 - All participants had issues finding ‘Customize toolbar’ 
 - Interaction: 3/5 participants wanted to drag&drop the label on the customization screen in order to move items.
 - 3/5 had issues finding items in the overflow menu after moving them out of the toolbar (they had troubles making a connection between the toolbar and overflow menu)

Based on the observations, we are considering the following changes to version 1 reading focus mode and customizable toolbar. 1. Onboarding / language

   - Keep onboarding tooltips visible when scrolling. Only proactively tapping “GOT IT” should dismiss the tooltip.

2. Reading focus mode

   - Make sure the Reading focus mode setting completely hides edit pencils, without having to refresh the screen (some participants experienced this)
   - `ADD ARTICLE DESCRIPTION`, `ADD IMAGE CAPTION`, `ADD IMAGE TAGS` CTA’s should be hidden when reading focus mode is enabled

3. Customize toolbar

   - Make sure the entire list item is draggable not only the icon on the right. Alternative concepts if this is not feasible:
       - Show a tooltip when users try to drag and drop the label instead of the icon
       - If tooltip does not improve the situation → consider moving towards a pattern that does not rely on drag on dropping
   - Terminology: Users don’t get the current wording ‘Actions and Destinations’, change the copy of the detail screen to: `Customize the bottom toolbar with 5 quick links you find most helpful.`
   - Discovery and usability (T302397)

- Add an additional, sixth ‘More’ menu item to the bottom toolbar, since the feature is hard to discover within 'Theme' at the moment. - Move items from the overflow menu in the app bar (top right) to a bottom sheet that is triggered by the newly added sixth 'More' item in the toolbar.

There were a number of bugs we fixed which included ensuring the content side bar reflected the proper positioning (T301074), showing the language code for language variants that are unnamed (T301919), long press menu not properly displaying "Define" and "Edit" (T302078z), and Wikibooks to Wikipedia works on mobile (T303123).

February 2022 – @Mentions, Native Revision history, Article and User Talk Page mockups, Customizable Toolbar and Reading Focus Mode Release[edit]

During our February releases we made minor improvements to talk pages for more and better functions.

The improvements includes a drop-down menu when users click a username that lets them choose if they want to go to a user talk page or user page.

We understand that some users may want to see who they are communicating with before sending a talk page message, whereas other users would like to go directly to a talk page; we hope that this release allows that flexibility.

Users are now able to edit talk pages as wikitext now, which is important for users that may post an error or typo in their talk page message and want to delete or modify it.

We also added a pattern to replies that pre-populates the user you are replying to on talk pages when hitting reply.

Users are also able to use the @ symbol to mention another user instead of having to use brackets and write out ping.

Additionally, when pressing @ and starting to type a name, the app provides a drop-down menu of user names.

We hope this change will make mentioning other users easier for Android users and also serves to ensure the person they are replying to receives a notification (T297912).

New @ mention functionality

Last year the team released Watchlist, which introduced native diff views to the Android app. To build on this feature our designer created mockups for native revision history, something requested in the community wishlist. The engineers have started developing revision history. While we have started developing the feature we welcome feedback from the community regarding the latest designs of native edit history on our talk page or on Phabricator. We are especially interested to know if it would be helpful to allow filtering by tags, and how prominent the undo button should be. Please keep in mind undo is not the same as rollback, which means all users will see the undo button. We are also considering adding a rollback button for users that have those permissions.

Diff View of Native Revision History
Revision History Comparing Diffs

In December 2021 we shared the mockups of Reading Focus Mode and the Customizable Toolbar. The team released both features in February and conducted user testing. The detailed results of the test can be found on Phabricator. The most notable results were:

  • Users understood how to turn reading mode off and on if they desired to make an edit
  • It was difficult to discover reading mode and the customizable toolbar with it being nested in Theme
  • Users had difficulty finding theme once they moved it out of the toolbar
  • It wasn't obvious to use the side icons to rearrange the toolbar

For that reason, the team will rethink our onboarding to these features through the next phase of our work, which is onboarding and guidance. Additionally we will add a more link in the toolbar, which is where users can access the customizable toolbar feature. We would also appreciate feedback on if we should use checkboxes to allow users to select what links are in their toolbar to address the difficulty people had with dragging an icon.

New More button and placement of customizable toolbar
Existing Customizable Toolbar Experience
Proposed alternative for customizable toolbar

This month we took the feedback and learnings from previous months about how we should improve talk pages in the app and developed the following mockups:

One of the changes you will notice is that user talk pages and article talk pages are visually different. On the user talk page we display some of the most recent message at the subject view level and conversely for the article view we show the subjects and not any of the metadata from the message. The intention behind this difference is to make the user talk page feel more conversational and visually indicate the article topics are meant to discuss article edits. To further connect the article talk page topics to the article, we will display an image from the article in the header of article talk pages. User talk pages will show the name of the most recent person that has posted to indicate that the space is conversational amongst users and not necessarily article specific.

Previously there wasn't a visual distinction for template messages that often share helpful context and policy for article talk pages, in our proposed designs we drew inspiration from Desktop by distinguishing the top most template message from other talk page topics. In both article and user talk pages, users will be able to view archived messages in the app and subscribe to threads in order to receive notifications when someone has posted an updated to a talk page thread of interest.

We also changed the way users reply and read threads. Replies to a thread were at the same level and indicated with a reply icon. In our new designs, users can expand and collapse replies and we will now support inline replies. Additionally, whereas in the past users replied using a floating action button, with the addition of inline replies, reply actions will be under each post.

This month we also fixed a number of bugs which included improving audio and media file support. There were also bugs fixed related to the article layout on this day and making the article doesn't close out when returning from webview. The confusion between Chinese language variant codes has been fixed in T298448. Long references on small screens are now fully viewable T298269.

Finishing our work on notifications, there was a back end issue where notifications weren't being properly associated with the right place in a talk page. As of February, talk page notifications take you to the right place in the discussion T296018.

January 2022 – Talk page discoverability exploration, exposing project talk pages and accessibility report[edit]

In January we continued our work on enhancing talk pages by exploring pathways to make accessing talk pages more discoverable without it being intrusive. Our explorations for discoverability took into consideration the feedback we received in November and December from new and experienced users. Now that the Android app has Reading mode, a feature where users can hide editing features, when reading mode is off, users will see a talk page bubble that shows the number of active discussions for an article. Once a user clicks the talk bubble they will view a preview in a side panel of the active discussion topics. Users will be able to expand the side panel or click a topic to see the full view of the article talk page. The work can be tracked at T298814and T299033.

Custom experience 02.png
Talk Page Preview via Side Panel

As described in T295071, when a user clicked on a username that doesn't have a profile page an error message popped up reading "This page does not exist" with the option to dismiss, which wasn't helpful and was a different experience than Desktop. The team updated the error message to provide more context and it is now more aligned with Desktop experiences.

User error before
User error after

The team made various tweaks to the app to improve accessibility, which was written about in detail by one of the Android app developers, Cooltey Feng. One of the outstanding items to address as a result of the report is if our experience for users with screenreaders should be improved or standard. The team is looking to consult screenreader users to conduct an evaluation of the app experience and provide feedback. Please comment on our talk page or email android-support@wikimedia.org if you can provide feedback on the app experience while using a screenreader.

Previously when users navigated to project pages in the app, talk page links were broken. As of our January release project talk pages can be properly accessed in the app.

December 2021 – Talk page survey results (experienced users), IP notifications and reading focus mode[edit]

As a follow-up to the survey from new users the team investigated ways to improve. One investigation included investigating the possibility of not using the RestBase endpoint for retrieving talk pages and instead using the regular MediaWiki API to get better talk page performance. As detailed in T295687, our team is unable to do so at this time because it requires an improvement of the performance of change propagation and/or cache updates of the REST endpoint. We have put in a request for backend teams to pick this up with the hopes of faster talk page performance in the future.

The team discovered that talk page notifications do not always lead users to the right subject line, rather it takes them to the general talk page. This bug was caused by changes to the DiscussionTools project. The team has been collaborating with the Editing team to fix this bug and the work is documented in T296018. As of December 15, 2021, unregistered editors in the Android app will receive talk page notifications T291481, which is important for reaching anonymous editors.

Users are now able to filter notifications by Wiki and notification type in the home center T294035, while also accessing settings to update preferred language settings in the filter view.

Update app changes.png

To help collaboration, users can now see their notifications even while offline T287955.

In October the team launched a survey to learn about the desires of experienced users for their talk pages experience in the Android app. We specifically surfaced the survey in the app to English Wikipedia talk page users in Nigeria and India, Arabic and French Wikipedia talk page users in DR Congo, Mali, Morocco and Egypt, as well as Japanese Wikipedia editors and Hindi Wikipedia Editors and received responses from 54 participants. The full results can be found at the bottom of the protocol page. The key takeaways from this survey was that users believe talk pages need better onboarding and education on how to use them and the distinction between article and user talk pages. There were requests for comprehensive communication flows when edit changes occur, and easier ways for users to seek assistance. Users requested an ability to share talk pages, which has been implemented in T295808. The lack of talk page discoverability in the article view was further highlighted in this survey. Respondents to the survey expressed the importance of encouraging users to review an article talk page when making an edit. It was highlighted that users involved in a talk page message should be pinged when someone has replied to them, which doesn't currently happen unless the user replying puts in the ping command for the user they would like to reach. Further, positive reinforcement and support for deleting and archiving messages that are no longer relevant were also surfaced as desired features.

What was very evident in our research was the flexibility needed so that our users unique needs are met when they are reading an article and prefer not to see editing tools compared to when they may want to edit and have a desire for specific editing tools or talk pages. With the requests for flexibility in mind, the team will release and test a customizable toolbar, which will allow users to choose which quick actions appear in the bottom bar in article view versus which things should go to the overflow menu and reading focus mode, a feature that hides the bottom quick actions toolbar on scroll as well as the edit pencils and call to actions. Reading mode will be off by default but accessible via Themes. The team will ensure users are able to recall how to turn read mode off so that we don't impede anyone's ability to edit.

November 2021 – Talk page survey results (new users), EditNotices and release of notifications home center[edit]

Building on the work we did to notifications last month, our team improved the notifications home center by adding [phab:T288068|search and filter]] functionality. We also improved the readability of the home center and added a new tabs called mentions, which includes all notifications that are generated by an action from other users, the categorization follows the policy that defines mention notification types.

Notification Home Center.png

The team ran phab:T2933447a usability test of our existing talk page experience on usertesting.com with new users to understand how discoverable talk pages are and if users understand how to differentiate between user and article talk pages. Additionally, we wanted to know what elements work well even in low context. Finally, we hoped to identify possible opportunities for improvements that we could surface to experienced users in the survey we ran in app. Our test users edited on Arabic, French, Hindi, Indonesian and Japanese Wikipedia.

From the test we learned the following things worked:

  • Users understood how to create new topics and reply to threads
  • Participants mostly understood that the article messages were from other users.
  • Participants described what a revert is, in their own words, well
  • Link in the footer: Some participants accessed talk pages via the link in the footer intuitively
  • Discovery of notifications: the work on the new placement for notifications paid off, people had no issues discovering the bell icon

From the test we learned the following things do not work well in our existing experience:

  • Users had a difficult time finding the link to article talk pages in the overflow menu, some participants tapped the edit pencil to access talk pages
  • There was a slow performance when attempting to submit on when using talk pages on Japanese Wikipedia
  • Users didn't understand the distinction between how to use article talk pages and user talk pages
  • There was a disorientation when tapping items within notifications home and navigating to Commons talk pages
  • Lack of understanding for the diff view and of edit summaries
  • At times there were no active keyboard and the reply button was missing

Based on the results of the test, the team generated investigative tasks, which can be found linked to this epic on Phabricator.

We fixed some bugs which includes presenting edit notices and fixing a bug where users lost their open tabs.

October 2021 – Outcomes of the ABC test, more updates to notifications and the launch of talk pages work[edit]

Last month we conducted research to understand how to improve the notifications experience for our users. Our goal was to ensure people are accurately receiving important messages from other users and the system, and able to understand and engage with the messages they receive. In last month's update we shared the outcomes of our qualitative research. We now have the outcomes of our ABC test where we evaluated which iconography and placement of said iconography in the app would best improve discoverability of notifications.

By changing the placement of the notifications iconography from the overflow more menu to the top navigation bar we saw an increase in interactions by 121.4%. The activity data was isolated by a seven day average of daily unique users. We further evaluated the impact on our target user groups to ensure our decision making is equitable. Based on this evaluation we saw an increase in interactions by 102.19% for users in Nigeria and India using English Wikipedia, 108.90% for users in Morocco, Egypt, DR Congo, and Mali on French and Arabic Wikipedia, 77.23% for Hindi Wikipedia users, 74.07% for Indonesian Wikipedia users, 147.83% for Japanese Wikipedia users. Based on this information, we made a final decision of ensuring the notifications icon lived in the top bar.

Our next test evaluated if our existing more icon, bell icon or the inbox icon would yield more clicks. Our data indicated the inbox had the highest level of clicks overall and across user groups, the bell icon was the next most favorable icon, followed by more. However, within our target user groups, Indonesian Wikipedia editors and Hindi Wikipedia editors, marginally clicked the more icon over the bell icon. Although the inbox was most favorable, when compared to our qualitative feedback, we learned that users expected to enter an actual inbox when clicking an inbox, and the bell icon was more closely associated with notifications. Additionally, across other platforms, the bell icon is being used to indicate notifications, so for the sake of parity and to not confuse users, our team chose the bell icon.

The next phase of our communication work is to improve the talk page experience in the Android app. While we currently have talk pages, it is important that the experience graduates from functional for experienced users to easy to use by all users, especially those that may need to use them the most. In order to better learn what gaps exist, we are launching two surveys. One survey will be conducted on usertsting.com with new users, so that we may learn what gaps exist for users that may be new to the Android app. You can find that protocol on Phabricator. The other will be for more experienced users that have visited and used talk pages in the Android app before. You may view the survey for experienced users at Wikimedia Apps/Team/Android/Communication/UsertestingOctober2021 and answer questions on talk page.

We also made minor upgrades which included improving how we handle the topmost welcome message on user talk pages, which can be reviewed on Phabricator.

September 2021 - In-app notifications and survey results[edit]

The outcomes of the qualitative survey collecting feedback about Notifications can be found on the protocol page.

Through our qualitative research we learned:

  • The top right positioning of the notification icon was most popular
  • The bell icon was most closely associated with notifications. While the inbox tray was a popular choice, it was associated with messages and notifications span beyond human-to-human contact
  • Users were in favor of having a mention tab in the Notifications Home Center
  • Users generally found filtering capabilities within the notifications home center important
  • There was a request for more context for reverts

To compliment the qualitative feedback we've received, the team launched an ABC test to get the final quantitative confirmation of how the discoverability of notifications changes if a bell icon is used in the top right hand corner when compared to the more and inbox tray. The initial details are available in Phabricator via ticket T290995.

As requested by the community and based on the survey feedback the team made notifications more discoverable in the article view.

The final iconography will be decided in October after our ABC test.

In addition, the team released the following minor updates:

  • An ability to to delete individual items in recent searches phab:T276770
  • Enable users to undo a talk page message a few seconds after posting and return to edit mode to make changes phab:T287594
  • Expose the last time a talk page has been edited so that users can easily review the edit history phab:T274836 and phab:T287593

August 2021 - Minor bug fixes[edit]

In August, the engineers focused primarily on tech debt and bug fixes raised by users as the rest of the team processed feedback from the community to turn them into features.

26 July 2021 - User testing notifications placement and workflows[edit]

The team is requesting feedback about potential changes to notification placement in the Android app and the subsequent workflows. Please visit the user testing protocol on MediaWiki and share your feedback on the talk page.

12 July 2021 - Improving the discoverability of talk pages[edit]

We currently support all notifications and alerts in the Android app.

However, when users are in the app, notifications are not easily discoverable; FY 2021-2022 we seek to improve this experience.

Our July 2021-September 2021 update will improve the in-app discoverability of notifications and enhance notifications on the lockscreen. By December 2021, we will enhance the notification home center to build an intuitive inbox and interface. We will design and build with consistency of Android system elements in mind to ensure that the feature feels at home on its platform.

July 2021 through December 2021 focuses on logged-in users that have made at least one edit, however we will build on our preliminary work from the months prior to enhance alert awareness for logged-out users in the beginning of 2022. We plan to explore onboarding experiences to communication tools for users that are logged out. This will be in addition to other positive reinforcements and onboarding workflows for logged-in users.

10 May 2021 - Updates to error handling messages[edit]

The team made a few updates to the way error messages are handled within the app, which will be released in production in the coming weeks. The exact changes we made can be followed in T170726, T276142, and T276139.

We recognize there are further improvements to be made, but have received feedback that the changes so far are enough of an improvement that it can be incorporated in a release as we continue to improve how error messages are handled and the communication systems in the Android app.

Spam Detection improvements
Abuse message handling
Enhancements to IP Block Messages
Article Protection Enhancements
Microcontribution workflow error handling

30 March 2021 - Updates to native talk pages and watchlist[edit]

The team collaborated across functions to review the recently released talk pages and watchlist to evaluate possible improvements. The following changes were made in the most recent release:

  • Ensure the reply button doesn't obstruct the view of the compose message line when refreshing
  • Move article talk page link placement from the bottom of an article to the drop down menu and add watchlist access to article drop down
  • Make the "About this Article" more prominent in the table of contents
  • Wrapped talk pages subject line

Other things we plan to modify include:

  • Ensuring inline replies show up in line instead of at the bottom of section.
    • Dependency: API from a back end team
  • Redesign or reconsider blue dot indicators to display what hasn't been read on talk pages
  • Expose the last time a talk page has been edited
  • Build onboarding for watchlist and talk pages

2 February 2021 - Release of watchlist and talk pages[edit]

We're excited to present our latest release of the Wikipedia Android app, available now on the Google Play Store (or as a standalone download for devices without Google). Here are the major highlights from this update:

  • Watchlists: Your watchlist is now accessible from the main screen when you are logged in. Tap the "More" menu at the bottom and select "Watchlist".  If you have multiple languages selected in the app, the watchlist screen will merge your watchlists from those language wikis. You can also choose which languages to show by tapping the language icon in the toolbar at the top.  Tap any of the items in your watchlist to see a detailed diff screen for the selected change.  And of course, to add any article you're currently reading to your watchlist, tap the top-right menu in the toolbar, and select "Add to watchlist".
  • Talk pages: Article talk pages and User talk pages are now presented natively.  When reading an article, the corresponding talk page is accessible by scrolling to the bottom and selecting "View talk page".  User talk pages can be accessed from various places where user interactions might happen, including your watchlist, various push notifications (e.g. messages left by other users on your talk page), and other users' and article talk pages.

In addition to these major updates, this release has plenty of bug fixes, design refinements, and performance optimizations. Check it out, and as always, we welcome your feedback! We are asking for watchlist feedback on Phab task T273254 and talk page feedback on T273253. You can also leave feedback on this talk page.

Special note: This release is dedicated to the memory of our late colleague and friend Bernd Sitzmann, a brilliant developer and a wonderful person, without whom the app wouldn't be what it is today. He will be missed.

December 2018 - Echo Notifications on Android[edit]

In 2018, the Android team set out to add Echo Notifications to Android. By the end of the project the following notification types became available:

  • System- Messages from the system
  • Milestone-  Edit counts being reached
  • Thanks- Someone thanks you for an edit
  • Revert- One- of your contributions were reverted
  • Talk Page- Messages from talk pages
  • Login- your login activities
  • Mention- Someone mentions you in page

Additionally, the team implemented poll notifications, which allows the app to use data to check for new notifications in the background. As of April 2021, this feature isn’t turned on by default.

Limitations for Push Notifications[edit]

There are some known blockers for real time push notifications that limited our original implementation approach. As a result of these limitations there is a ~10 minute delay to notifications.

Notifications options in Android