Wikipedia for KaiOS
Wikipedia mobile app for the KaiOS operating system
Wikipedia for KAIOS is a Wikipedia reading app for smart feature phones that the Inuka team started developing in 2019 to avail Wikipedia content on 4G smart, feature phones, and bridge the digital divide through worldwide readership across many parts of emerging markets, specifically India. We released in 2 versions - 1) for India (due to a separate app store and device variations), 2) for rest of the world
In line with the mission to make the sum of all knowledge free to all, the Inuka team is building a Wikipedia app for KaiOS users. KaiOS is a mobile operating system based on Linux. It gives smart-like capabilities to feature phones by enabling the use of apps. These phones come with limited computing capabilities, hardware keys, and a small screen display. It brings popular apps like YouTube, Twitter and WhatsApp to users who wouldn’t be able to afford a smartphone.
KaiOS is used on 160 million devices around the world, with around 100 million active users most of which are Jiophones in India.
Goals & Objectives
- Increase adoption and engagement with Wikipedia content for readers in Emerging Markets and grow readership.
Assumptions & Hypothesis
- If we develop a custom Wikipedia experience for the KaiOS platform for emerging markets this will lead to content engagement and awareness.
- Understanding KAIOS users in India research to understand why and how these users use these phones. We learnt that users chose to purchase these phones because they're affordable and allow access to apps like smartphones do. We also learned the challenges they face trying to read Wikipedia within the native mobile browser. Challenges included ability to scroll through content, text size on the screen, searching for content and lack of awareness that Wikipedia content is available in multiple languages.
KaiOS phones have a small, 2.8 inch display, non-touch screen. In designing the app, we had to consider how we would present information from Wikipedia on the small screen size in a way that would provide a good reading experience for the target audience.
For the first version, the team wanted to make sure that users would be able to read and search for Wikipedia articles in their language of choice. In the design and engineering, we considered how users would be introduced to Wikipedia, how they discover articles, and how they navigate easily within articles.
Research showed that, in India and other parts of emerging markets, there is low awareness of Wikipedia. We wanted to focus the onboarding experience on defining what Wikipedia is in simple language to a user who may or may not have used Wikipedia before.
Page by page scrolling
Wikipedia articles, at least the really good ones, are relatively long. In our research, users indicated that they found it frustrating to scroll down with the hardware keys as it needed many key presses. We have introduced page by page scrolling, that allows a user to read the article as if they were reading a book, rather than scrolling pixel by pixel.
Language choice and selection
Research has also shown that it is not easy to discover the languages that Wikipedias are available in, particularly in Emerging Markets. We have placed the option to change language where a reader can always see it.
Table of contents
Similar to the Android and iOS apps for Wikipedia, we wanted to give users the functionality to be able to quickly switch to the sections of interest within an article
At the start of an article, we provided quick links for users to choose how they would like to navigate - they can choose to:
- see the sections of an article,
- read quick facts (which is the content in the infobox),
- See a gallery of images in an article
- Switch the language of the article
- Go directly to read the article summary
The first version of the app was released on 9th September 2020 in India. The app was released to KaiOS users on 7th December 2020. Readers can find the Wikipedia app in the JioStore in India and in the KaiStore in all parts of the world where KaiOS phones are available.
For the first version, the app does not support editing. Editing articles in the form factor of the KaiOS phone is complex, time-consuming and likely to lead to errors. We are following the work of other teams at WMF, who are working on allowing micro contributions through phones, and plan to provide editing capability in future releases. Editing Wikipedia is still available on the native mobile browser.
Enhanced search function
KaiOS search function allows all words in a user's search query to show results.
We partnered with Jio in India and KAIOS for non-India market to meet the digital divide in emerging markets and align with the Foundation’s medium and long term plans towards worldwide readership.As a 4G enabled device, their smart feature phones are specifically created for people currently on 2G devices who cannot afford smartphones or the plans that come with them. Even with internet accessibility growing in many parts of emerging markets, we could reach billions of people who are unable to afford smartphones. KaiOS phones were an affordable option to access the internet, and as a result, Wikipedia content if structured right.
|FISCAL YEAR||MILESTONES||STORE: DEVICE|
|2019-20||Product Discovery & Development.||Pre-release:|
|Q4: Introduced a feature where when KaiOS users in India want to select their preferred language, regional languages are shown first on the list.||Pre-release: Jio Phone|
|Q4: Fixes to support how the app works on Jio Phone 2 which has a qwerty keyboard rather than a candybar keyboard||Pre-release: Jio Phone 2|
|2020-21||Q1: The 1st version of the app was released in India. 1st product release [9th September, 2020]||Jio Store: Jio Phone 1 and Jio Phone 2|
|Q2:Released the 1st version of the Wikipedia app to KaiOS global store for all users, (except Jio Phone users from India) [7th December 2020]||KaiOS Store: all devices|
|Q3: Launched a content engagement experience in Nigeria, Tanzania, Uganda and Pakistan, showing readers top read Wikipedia content in their country on the app homepage; Version 1.6.0 [early 2021]
||KaiOS store: all devices|
|Q3: As part of the Wikimedia Foundation's partnership with KaiOS, we began running advertisements to increase the visibility and downloads of the Wikipedia app on the KaiOS platform.
As most KaiOS adopters are first-time internet users, they are far less likely to know that Wikipedia exists—let alone use it on a regular basis.
KaiOS regularly displays small banner ads to their phone users while they are browsing the internet, and we are using their standard process for placing our ads. Each of our banner ads are composed of two parts: A short message about Wikipedia and a button that brings users to Wikipedia's listing in the KaiOS app store where they have the option to download it
These ads are running globally in English, Spanish, French, and Arabic, languages which cover approximately 90% of KaiOS's current userbase. No ads are or will be run on the KaiOS Wikipedia app.[January 2021]
|Q4: Content engagement experiments that happened in Q3, based on showing readers top read content in their country increased average session length by 17% overall (2 min, 28 s in trending articles group, compared to 2 min, 7 s in control) (link to experiment )||KaiOS store: all devices|
|2021-22||Q3: Low user engagement/downloads on KaiOS store that prompted a decision to sunset (low ROI). Having the app on the KaiOS store required a financial investment. [January 2022]||KaiOs store: all devices|
|Q1: Multiple releases/ updates have been done since||KaiOS store: all devices|
|2022-23||Q1: Released KaiOS app v18.104.22.168 on Jio store [26th September 2022]||Jio Store: JioPhone1,2 and Jio Phone Value users (JPV)|
|PAGEVIEWS BY STORE||2019||2020||2021||2022||2023 to date|
|App Pageviews (March, 2020)||KaiOS store||n/a||4,742,112||5,120,764||2,814,399||967,149|
|Web Pageviews (November, 2019)||Jio Store||16,152,335||64,918,521||42,386,104||26,290,339||20,536,625|
- Good app for for study
- Best app for exploring the world to politicians and film actors
- Gaining knowledge from the app
- nice to have information in wikipedia because when we search for some for telugu language wikipedia we are getting problems in searching
- Adding voice search for people who don’t know english or typing
- There is no search option
- Editing option
- Add more articles
- Add a short video for description along with related article
- Change the language to Hindi only
- How to create articles in Wikipedia
- How to download images and information
- How to play games in Wikipedia
- Incorrect results when when searching
- Approach to Partnerships: To continuously monitor market share and trends that could affect product adoption.
- Approach to Product Experiments: Exploring ways to productize the app once there's a clear product-market-fit. In the context of the KaiOS homepage suggestions experiment, we tested adding country-specific trending articles to our basic homepage (containing just a search bar). We could have explored adding content to the page (like a standard global list of most-read content).
Please visit the FAQ page.
How to contribute
You can contribute translations in your language on translatewiki.net.
Our code base is located at https://github.com/wikimedia/wikipedia-kaios
- On 26th September, Wikipedia app v22.214.171.124 was published on JioStore for all the JioPhone models (JioPhone1,2 and JPV users).
- Content engagement experience based on showing readers top read content in their country increased engagement with content by 15% overall.
- Release version 1.6.0 to the KaiStore that introduced the ability to share an article URL, migration to our new analytics service and improved localization.
- Launched a content engagement experience in Nigeria, Tanzania, Uganda and Pakistan, showing readers top read Wikipedia content in their country on the app homepage.
- Release the Wikipedia app for KaiOS on the KaiStore, to users around the world where KaiOS phones are available
- Run a usability study in India where we learned of the challenges users were facing within the app. The main areas for improvement were in the search experience, and simplifying the onboarding process and allowing easier use of the feature that allows changing text size
- Had 1.6 million app downloads at the end of Q2
- Released the first version of the Wikipedia app to KaiOS users in India who use JioPhones.
- Introduced support for RTL languages
- Updated copy for onboarding
- Improved image gallery
- Performance and security optimizations
- Introduced a feature where when KaiOS users in India want to select their preferred language, regional languages are shown first on the list https://phabricator.wikimedia.org/T247255
- Fixes to support how the app works on Jiophone 2 which has a qwerty keyboard rather than a candybar keyboard https://phabricator.wikimedia.org/T248285 https://phabricator.wikimedia.org/T248443 https://phabricator.wikimedia.org/T250642
- Allow users to provide feedback from within the app https://phabricator.wikimedia.org/T236317