Wikimedia Apps/Team/iOS/Editing program

< Wikimedia Apps‎ | Team‎ | iOS

This page is no longer updated, but kept for historical reasons. See Wikimedia Apps/Team/iOS for new updates.

The Audiences department has started a program to understand, support, and increase mobile contributions, with a particular focus on Wikipedia.

This work is part of the Wikimedia Foundation annual plan goal of Growing our Contributors and Content.

Within this larger initiative, the iOS team has been tasked with Output 3.2.

The iOS team will develop contribution features of the app.

It is not anticipated this work will increase overall rates of new contributor retention or more diverse content at a globally meaningful level in the short term. The iOS app audience, though large for an app, is small relative to Wikimedia's web traffic, so it is unlikely incremental improvements for iOS users will result in large global changes.

However it is necessary preliminary work and foundational to more sophisticated interventions, which could follow and be adapted to the web when practical.


There are numerous ways to help us and provide feedback:

  1. Leave a comment on this project's Talk page!
  2. Become a beta tester by adding your name and preferred email here.
  3. Sign up to be a User Tester. User testers get to try very early versions of features and provide extensive feedback on usability and other issues.
  4. Join the mobile mailing list and send us an email.

Partner Wikis[edit]

In order to provide a manageable focus and develop the specialized editing and language community expertise, the iOS team will be focused on a subset of Wikipedias for this initial work on editing. Our planned partner wikis were selected based on a number of factors, largely based on the New Editors research project, and subsequent work on the editing Taxonomy. More about this preliminary research is below. We also believe these languages have enough iOS users and app users to make a reasonable place to start working with existing communities. Finally, we wanted to include one non-Latin script based language, as this will help ensure our work can be brought to multiple writing systems in the future.

Our "primary" projects are:

  • English Wikipedia
  • Korean Wikipedia
  • French Wikipedia

If possible, we will also include two additional Wikipedias in each feature. However if supporting a feature in these languages would require significant cost or unique development, we will deprioritize them in favor of the primary languages:

  • Hindi Wikipedia
  • Czech Wikipedia

Target Users[edit]

Although we strive to design features for all humans, in the scope of this project we have identified a type of editor that represents the "persona" of users we believe we are in the best position to support and delight. These users have one or more of the following attributes:

  • users who have edited 1 or more times
  • have interest/motivation to fix or improve existing pages (not create new pages or perform administrative functions)
  • own an iOS device and use apps regularly
  • users who have said "I'd use the app but its editing features suck" are particularly ideal

If you are not seeing yourself in this "persona" we still want to make editing easier and more productive for you on the iOS app, and we still would ask for your participation as outlined in the Participate section.


Our goal, in words, is easy to state: to make contributing to Wikimedia via the iOS app as good a user experience as we have made reading in the app. We will bring the same commitment to design, user testing, and quality that we have brought to Wikipedia's readers on iOS to deliver useful and delightful contribution features.

In more practical terms we need to be able to measure whether the improvements we're making are actually making contributing easier, more efficient, and more engaging. We'll do that by looking for increases in two primary metrics, one secondary metric, while also monitoring one health metric to ensure we are not damaging the overall health of the ecosystem.

As a new project, measuring and reporting baseline numbers will be our first step in this area. More info about each metric is below.

Primary metrics[edit]

Primary metrics are metrics that are aligned with our high-level metrics. The goal is to increase these metrics by 10%.

Total iOS app edit count - Number of non-bot edits which are tagged as made through the iOS app interface across all Wikimedia projects. We hope to increase the total number of successful edits made via the iOS app. Based on the baseline computed at the end of Q1, there are 773.18 edits on average made via the iOS app daily.

Editor retention - We believe that by making editing more efficient, enjoyable and understandable we will naturally see editors returning to the app and editing on a repeat basis. Although we are still working on the precise definition of retention for mobile editing that can be used across programs (T201501), we adopted and adjusted the high-level retention definition: The proportion of editors who have made additional edits through the iOS app in the second 30 days following their first iOS edit in the given time span (does not include anonymous editors; retained editors don't include those have only made additional edits through other platforms following their first iOS edit).

Secondary metrics[edit]

Secondary metrics are metrics that help to inform decisions at program level.

Edits/Editor - As is hopefully clear from the above material, we really hope to make it much more efficient and enjoyable for existing editors to do more via the app. This metric will measure that efficiency by looking at the number of successful edits per non-bot registered editor in the app. Specifically, we would like to measure:

  • The proportion of 1 edit editors among all registered editors who edit at least once via iOS app for any given time period. As we hope to make it much more efficient and enjoyable for these casual editors to do more via the app, the smaller this number is the better. Based on the baseline computed at the end of Q1, the 1 edit/month editor proportion is 45.3% across all Wikipedias.
  • The proportion of 5+ edit editors among all registered editors who edit at least once via iOS app for any given time period. Historically, we consider editors with at least 5 edits per month as active editors. We hope to increase this proportion on the iOS app. Based on the baseline computed at the end of Q1, the 5+ edit/month editor proportion is 22.5% across all Wikipedias.

Health monitoring metrics[edit]

Revert rate of iOS edits - Proportion of iOS app edits which have been reverted within 5 revisions or 2 days, whichever comes first. it is not acceptable to purely increase the amount of edits from the app. If these edits are not constructive or do not conform to the local policies, then it is better not to have those edits at all. In order to ensure that we are not increasing the burden on existing communities or reducing the quality of the projects, we will closely monitor revert rates for edits from the app. Although we expect some noise and fluctuation in this metric, it will need to remain roughly stable as we make changes. Based on the baseline computed at the end of Q1, the revert rate of iOS app edits across all Wikipedias is 14.7%.

Scope of the metrics[edit]

Considering the relatively small edit volume on the iOS app, we will aggregate the above metrics by English and non-English, instead of by each individual wiki.


The team generally works by defining a set of aspirations or principles and then evaluating our work and user feedback, against those goals. You can see our principles for Readers here, as an example. This program will have the following initial principles:

  • Don't replace everything - That is, this project is not to replace 15 years and hundreds of communities tools on top MediaWiki, or even to replicate all of MediaWiki. We will maintain focus on the target wikis, audiences, and features as described on this page, not act as a 1-1 replacement for the existing web ecosystem.
  • Maintain wiki-ness - Wikis are a particular type of collaborative software with expectations, and we will work to fulfill these expectations as much as possible within our context and resources. For more about the principles of wiki see Ward Cunningham's Wiki principles or our own Wikimedia Product Principles.
  • Don't divide identities - Although we are not currently tasked with turning readers into editors, we believe it is detrimental to segregate or hide editing features from reader features. We'll use best practices in mobile user experience, such as progressive disclosure, to avoid overwhelming users with the full complexity of all our editing tools, but we won't build a separate app, or force users to choose between Reader and Editor personas.
  • Maintain HIG - Apple publishes very specific Human Interface Guidelines, which provide a toolkit for apps to build intuitive and OS-consistent user experiences. Our work to merge the Wikimedia design principles and style guide with Apple's guidance is part of why users, and Apple itself, have responded so positively to the changes in the app. We hope to continue to bridge these two visual worlds in a way that is unique to Wikipedia on iOS.
  • Be the Apple flavor of Wikipedia - Obviously Apple has some corporate values and practices that conflict or at least come into friction with Wikimedia's values. However, we hope to bring some aspects of Apple's approach to our work, particularly in the area of user experience. Specifically Apple products are known for their elegance, intuitiveness, strong visual hierarchy, effective use of space and typography, implementation of touch and gestures, and so on. We hope to be all that for our editors.
  • Be a wiki that "just works" - One commonly understood aspect of the Apple platform is the idea that it should "just work". That is, users should be able to intuitively discover tools and achieve their goals without significant customization, set up or unneeded steps. We hope to bring this approach to editing tools. The web will always be there for those that want to fully customize their editing tools, invest in user scripts and configuring gadgets. The Wikipedia iOS app will be there for people that just want to contributing to "just work".
  • Don't invent anything, just design it and iterate it - although there is significant potential for new forms of editing and contribution generally on mobile, this program is not about inventing any new tasks. Instead we want to be the most efficient and intuitive way to complete existing tasks on mobile, and to set the pattern for how existing tasks on wiki can be built in a way that supports and delights editors on mobile devices.

Sources of Features[edit]

Roughly, as now, the team plans to do a major feature release each 2 months, followed by bug fix/iteration as needed.

The goal will be that each release will include one priority from each of the following theoretical backlogs:

  1. User: features driven by existing app editor requests, and user research with existing editors matching our target user persona.
  2. Community:  features driven by curation or larger community feedback or needs. That is, features based on editor needs, but editors across the target wikis, rather than the specific volunteers we are targeting.
  3. Research:  features recommended or identified by longer term design research. These are also user derived, but will be shared across the department and based on user-centered design processes. Initially this will consist of the mobile contribution taxonomy.
  4. Technology:  work to pay down tech debt, do required maintenance and support, and participate in the platform evolution goal of the Foundation.

Initial features under consideration[edit]

Based on our initial research, including User research at the Wikimedia Hackathon and the Mobile Contribution taxonomy, and longstanding requests from English Wikipedia editors, the following features are under consideration and undergoing initial design and product evaluation. In some cases we've linked to existing Phabricator or project pages, but as we develop more focused plans for these specific features we'll continue to update this page with new links and sub-pages:


September 10, 2018 - Team working on 6.1, focusing on editing functionality, including data module to commit edits, Wikidata descriptions, Visual Editor on mobile.

September 10, 2018 - Released 6.0.1. Fully customizable and easier to read Explore feed. Localization, performance improvements and bug fixes.

September 5, 2018 - Started technical research on syntax highlighting and custom keyboard support; started development of Wikidata Editing

August 22, 2018 - Released 6.0. This update includes a user controllable Explore feed. Now you can choose which content from which languages you see each day. The new feed has also been visually updated to make it easier to navigate, discover interesting things to read and save them for later. This version also includes many other navigation and design improvements, including promoting Search to be a main tab of the app.

July 6, 2018 - Draft project page posted (this), initial design brief based on research at Wikimedia Hackathon posted on Commons.