Wikimedia Apps/Team/Android/Communication

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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]


In February 2021, the Android team released the first version of talk pages in the app. This was as the initial 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.

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.


7 October[edit]

There is a survey on Wikimedia Apps/Team/Android/Communication/UsertestingOctober2021 which will guide future work on communication in the Android app. You can answer on the talk page.

16 September 2021 - Notification indicator now visible on all screens[edit]

Prior to our most recent release, users would not see if they had notifications while browsing or reading an article. Through our most recent release, users will now receive notifications while in-app and browsing and reading articles.

No Notifications.png
Article view new notifications.png

6 September 2021 - Outcomes of usertesting and Announcement of ABC Testing[edit]

The team received qualitative feedback from an Arabic Wikipedia editor based in Morocco, an Indonesian Wikipedia editor based in Indonesia, and a English Wikipedia editor based in Nigeria. The outcomes of the survey can be found on the protocol page.

To compliment the qualitative feedback we've received, the team has launched an ABC team 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. The data for this ABC test will become available on this Mediawiki page. In the interim, you can follow along on Phabricator via ticket T290995.

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