Wikimedia Apps/Reading lists/Share Project

This page talks about the Apps Team work to enable users to share reading list they create in the Wikipedia apps on Android or iOS.

It contains information about the goals of this work, the past efforts that have influenced it and why sharing reading lists is one of our priorities July 2022–December 2022.

To follow how this project is developing, the team recommends visiting and/or adding the updates section of this page to your watchlist. If you would like to be invited to conversations about specific topics, please notify us on this talk page.



In early 2016, the Apps team updated their existing Saved Pages to a new feature called Reading lists. Reading Lists allowed users to put saved articles into folders and to label and make a basic description for their folders. The original feature design included the ability for logged-in users to sync their lists across devices, using the list storing capabilities of the Collections extension.

For reasons unrelated to the apps and their user's needs, these plans were paused. In early 2017 the Android team made a number of improvements to the Reading Lists feature, to make them easier to manage for users and solidify the offline saving elements, based on research identifying offline saving as a major area of focus for serving New Readers.

Reading lists has since become a popular feature, and there have been several requests over the years from the community to enable sharing reading lists with other users, and export reading lists to save to their device.

Objective and Hypothesis




Our objective is to enable app readers to curate, save and share a collection of content that is interesting and relevant to them.



We believe when users receive a reading list it will motivate them to read Wikipedia articles they may not have otherwise. Additionally, because the feature is only available in the apps, we believe the feature will increase installs of the Android and iOS apps.

Testing our Hypothesis


We will test our hypothesis by monitoring data in for the Android app in the following target growth regions:

  • Africa (Egypt, Algeria, Morocco, Kenya, DR Congo, Angola, Nigeria and Ghana)
  • South Asia (India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Nepal).

These countries were selected based on data that shows disproportionate pageviews relative to active installs. Additionally, we took into consideration Smartphone usage in these countries relative to active installs.

Key Performance Indicators

  • At least 20% of initial users will engage with the feature again within 30 days after initial engagement
  • Increase pageviews in target growth markets by 5% within 90 days of release
  • Increase app downloads from target growth markets six months after release at a rate higher than the same time period the previous two years

Additionally, we will conduct usability testing. While we welcome feedback from all, we will especially be focused on the language wikis below based on languages used in our target growth countries in the Android app:

  • English
  • Arabic
  • Hindi
  • French
  • Bangla
  • Spanish
  • Portuguese
  • German
  • Urdu

We will quantitatively monitor if the feature increases pageviews of wikis that are notably visited in the app but not as frequently as the language wikis listed above:

  • Sinhala
  • Egyptian Arabic
  • Swahili
  • Persian
  • Nepali
  • Telugu

User Stories


We have some user stories that we are considering:

  • As a Wikipedia Android app user and student in Morocco, I want to export my reading lists so that I can use them at the Mohammed V University school library.
  • As a Wikipedia Android app user in Ghana, I want to share my reading list with a family member in the US that has an iOS device, so they can read the articles I've saved about Accra ahead of their trip home in December.
  • As a Wikipedia Android app user organizer in South Asia, I want to share a reading list via Whatsapp after an event, so people that have attended know which articles need contributions.



Sharing a Reading List


There are two main scenarios which we have designed for the process of sharing Reading Lists:

Scenario 1: The receiver has the app installed


This scenario occurs when the user already has the Wikipedia app installed:

Some things that happen are:
  • 3. Shares a list: One list can be shared, e.g. with the Share icon in the app bar or by long pressing reading list in 1. Lists home
  • 4. Share sheet: Is device dependent
  • 5. Send message:
    • Is service dependent
    • Message contains text and a link (see 4.2.).
    • Keep in mind that the current copy: (Check out my reading list with the Wikipedia Android or iOS app: is a placeholder and needs to be fine-tuned to be effective and work in multiple languages.
  • 6. Receives message: is device dependent (notification)
  • 7. Taps link: Opens directly in the Wikipedia app
  • 8. Import dialog: From here on, we have complete control over how it's displayed

Scenario 2: The receiver does not have the app installed


This scenario occurs when the user does not have the Wikipedia app installed:

Some things that happen are:
  • 1. Taps link: User taps link in the message
  • 2. MediaWiki page:
    • Uses a web page (e.g. the short link leads to
    • The MediaWiki page’s exact content and formatting needs to be defined, yet
  • 5. Opens app:
    • We can detect if users come from a reading list import as the data is shared asynchronously from the Google Play Store
    • Once the data mentioned above is received, we will show a dialog that informs users how to open the received reading list.
    • Again: we don’t know the origin of where the reading list has been shared, so the only thing we can do is inform users about tapping the link in the original message. The Learn more (secondary CTA) points to an instructions section on the MediaWiki page (described in 2.)
  • 6. Taps link: After installing the app, the user needs to navigate back to the service, where the original message (with the link) has been received, and tap the link again

Exporting a Reading List


These are designs that shows the process of exporting a reading list:

Some things that happen are:
  • 1. Lists home + 2. Exports multiple:
    • Multiple lists can be exported (and deleted)
  • 3. Export one list: One list can be exported, e.g. with the Export option in the overflow menu or by long pressing a reading list in 1. Lists home
  • 4. Direct export:
    • Once the export has been triggered in step 3, a system notification is displayed (similar to reading lists sync), and JSON files are stored directly on the device (without a share sheet)
    • In addition and very likely: a system notification is triggered that the file’s been stored

Landing Page


This is a landing page that is displayed when someone shares a list:




May 2023

  • In the past month, we've focused on making our reading lists more engaging and shareable. Our Android team initiated a project to allow for reading list sharing, focusing on growth readers in specific African and South Asian countries. The goal was to boost user engagement, page views, and app downloads. To verify our hypothesis that shareable reading lists would encourage more app downloads and reading, we teamed up with analysts and project managers to design a public measurement and experimentation plan. This included developing research questions, identifying leading indicators, and determining the necessary engineering instrumentation (T314533).
  • Furthermore, we conceptualized the sharing of reading lists, updating low-fidelity mockups to illustrate sharing through a link rather than a file. We considered a variety of sharing and receiving scenarios, putting a focus on usability across diverse languages and reading directions. This led to the creation of multiple user stories that captured various use cases from different regions, user capabilities, and objectives (T316822).

April 2023

  • After reviewing usability testing videos, we improved the landing page to make it clearer what the intent of the landing page was (T327905). We also fixed a bug with our survey (T332366).
Improved the landing page for reading lists

March 2023

  • In the past, an initiative was undertaken to enhance the translation and localization quality for shared reading lists in an app. Issues were identified such as the title "Reading lists" on the landing page not being localized in most languages, and an import dialog was not translated into Spanish and Arabic. To address these issues, corrections were made to these specific localization problems, a UI copy spreadsheet was checked for missing translations, and efforts were made to ensure full translation of the UI for target regions. An improvement in the QA process was also suggested to identify localization issues at an early stage when developing in multiple languages T327911.
  • In addition to that, we worked on a task to add in-app previews for shared reading lists. Based on user feedback, we found that users wanted more information before importing a list. Therefore, we decided to allow users to preview these lists within the app before importing. We also considered renaming "Import" to "View" or "Saved". The new process involved users receiving, previewing, saving, and viewing the list within the app. We also added a confirmation message to inform users when the list had been successfully saved T327903.
  • Furthermore, we addressed some issues that were distracting users from the main task of sharing or receiving reading lists. Users were getting frustrated by repeated survey prompts and the simultaneous display of loading indicators and onboarding cards was causing confusion. Also, the 'sync reading list' prompt was appearing too frequently and in too many forms. We noticed that most users ignored the tooltips, which indicated that our interface was largely self-explanatory. To resolve these issues, we made sure that unrelated onboarding popups didn't appear during the share/receive workflow, we limited the survey prompt to appear only once, and we decided not to display the list sync card during a list import. We also removed some unnecessary tooltips and reviewed and optimized the flows to minimize distractions. Finally, we revised the text in the survey dialog and adjusted the conditions under which it would be shown T327912.
  • In the past, we dealt with an issue in our Android app where long titles or descriptions of reading lists would overlap with thumbnails or placeholder text. This was especially noticeable when a list had an unusually long name or description, or when it didn't include any articles. We managed to fix this issue, preventing any overlap and significantly improving readability and overall user experience (T329962).

February 2023


Based on our first experiment with Reading List, we made the following adjustments ahead of our next experiment release:

  • Identically named articles retained during reading list export T329805.
    • Optimized "MB indication" UI when importing a reading list T327909.
    • Hide filesize indicator on reading list import temporarily T328474.
    • Add an option to delete multiple lists T320999.
  • Optimized performance when importing a shared reading list T327907.
  • Expanded the export feature to multiple reading lists T319345.

January 2023

  • We created an in-app feedback form for reading list users to provide feedback on Sharing and Receiving through a link T321524,T322088.
  • We built a workflow for sharing reading lists through the app T316836.

December 2022

  • Fixed a bug where the reading list tip flashed when importing a reading list T324521.
  • Finished building a receiving workflow for shareable reading lists; all the designs are available here T316834.

October 2022


We fixed a bug where identical articles were duplicated. T318319.

September 2022


As we begin our work on Reading Lists, we experimented with the possibility of users seeing a preview of a reading list being shared on a web page.

The user story we considered was, “As a Wikipedia Android app user in Ghana, I want to share my reading list with a family member in the US that has an iOS device, so they can read the articles I've saved about Accra ahead of their trip home in December and see a preview before committing to download the app.”

The possible methods included T316837 :

  • Adding JavaScript to the MediaWiki page, this approach was determined to not be feasible because we can not add JavaScript to a MediaWiki and add JavaScript into Central Notice.
  • Creating an extension.
  • Use Portals.
  • Create a microsite.
  • Creating low-fi mocks to get input from users for sharing a reading list T313740.
low fi mocks to get input from users for sharing a reading list
  • Serious research has been done to check the desired flow of sending a . Wikipedia files and importing it is possible for sharing a reading list T316048.