Mobile Gateway/Features & Roadmap

History and GoalsEdit

Pulled from WMF ENGINEERING GOALS, FY 2011-12

  • May 2010 - Early demo of port at Wikimedia Hack-a-thon (Berlin)
  • August 2011 - Mobile port complete. India, Brazil, and USA research is finished
  • October 2011 - Mobile article assessment beta. Saving of articles beta.
  • March 2012 - Mobile section editing beta fixing typos and grammar. Adding location based information.
  • June 2012 - Media upload beta (dependent on development of review features for the community, therefore staged last).

All projects are subject to WMF research findings and product priorities. Dates are reflective of project completion.

This only reflects a small portion of the total Wikimedia mobile efforts. While the WMF is prioritizing its resources on a subset of projects relative to its goal we will still be involved in numerous community efforts to broaden our mobile reach including but not limited to:

  • Strong API documentation and future feature development
  • App research and development through partnerships
  • Regular data analysis to better understand how people are pulling wikimedia project content through mobile devices
  • Broadening Wikimedia project reach by making it as a bookmarked destination built into devices
  • Integrating Mobile development into appropriate WMF projects
  • Building out a Mobile QA infrastructure
  • ... and others as we figure them out

Focus AreasEdit


Vistors to Mobile Wikipedia should be treated to an experience that takes into account the smaller size and lower bandwidth options that mobile phones have. Since screen real estate is precious on mobile we're not looking to emulate every single feature. Instead we have to be selective and surface a subset of features to our users. Now that doesn't mean that we will only emulate PC features; the mobile platform gives us access to rich set of data to better optimize the reading experience.

Some of the areas and features that we will be exploring include but are not limited to:


  • Reading of articles
    • Scrolling should be easy
    • Collapse sections - Show the layout of a page before you show all the detail
  • Collapsable infoboxes - Surface infoboxes when users request the detail from them
  • Easy search - Large search box that is easy to select (on a touch or keyboard phone) and easy to type

New IdeasEdit

  • Viewing edit history
  • Viewing discussion pages
  • Watchlists
  • Quick language switch

Device DetectionEdit

  • Using both the WURFL database and override list redirect all known mobile devices to the correct gateway


Mobile devices are starting to become ubiquitous in day to day information gathering. While they have a smaller amount of screen real estate to dedicate toward full article input they still offer up an interface that can be well suited for very specific tasks such as:

  • Rate an article
  • Geo-tagging articles/media
  • Uploading media to commons
  • Add interlanguage links


Mobile devices also allow us to start approaching very simple editing such as:

  • Grammar and spell checking
  • Sentence editing


It's become increasingly common for users of mobile devices to be able to share content as they browse it. This is especially true of any time sensitive material.

  • Share via email or social network or SMS


While mobile devices aspire to keep us regularly connected, cell phone networks can't keep up with all of the places that their users tend to go. It's very common for a user to go from one well connected part of a city to a completely disconnected portion like a subway, airplane, etc. While up to date content would be unavailable at this point there are several mechanisms that we could employ so that the users either has access to the data that they have already requested or we have cached common data for them.

  • Queueing
  • Save articles for offline reading - Download WikiBooks and Collections extension content.


It is very common for mobile phone users to want to stay in tune with what is happening within a particular space at any point in time. The Wikimedia project community has many vantage points that could be highlighted on mobile devices.

Some ideas include:


  • Ability to do admin actions
    • Revert
    • Undo
  • View article rating dashboard
  • Recent changes


Slow Speed Smart phonesEdit

We need to be able to support smart phones that are still on slow networks. In order to facilitate that we could:

Mobile phone identificationEdit

It appears that many (too many) phones are not being tracked to our mobile gateway resulting in a bad user experience via our computer-optimized platform. We need to have the capability to identify most, if not all, mobile phones and automatically serve them through the mobile gateway (either mobile. or m.). Ideally, we would have access to a third party directory service that would enable us to automatically identify all mobile models without needing to hand code each one.

This is a huge concern for us and is the exact reason why we've identified that maintaining a list by hand is not a long term solution. Instead were going to try using the WURFL library in the MobileFrontend extension. See details here. Tfinc 22:57, 23 June 2011 (UTC)


Major leverage opportunity for our projects is to provide third parties with a strong set of APIs that are well documented and easy to work with. Also, we need to start getting analytics on the usage of our APIs as well as the traffic generated through large mirrors (e.g., Facebook)

Exactly, if you or anyone has the skills for this then please respond to our open RFP to start looking at this data. Tfinc 23:09, 23 June 2011 (UTC)