Wikimedia Apps/Team/iOS/Communication


Communication is the backbone of collaboration on Wikipedia. In the past the community has asked for features that support on-wiki communication (eg. notifications, banners etc.) to be present across all mobile platforms (mobile web and apps). The iOS team is looking forward to bringing a more fully featured set of communication and talk page tools into the app to full-fill the communities request and improve consistency across the different platforms.

This work has a focus on the following design themes:

Timeliness & spatial awareness: Where and when is the conversation happening? How might we design features that help Wikipedians (new or old) to have a better intuitive sense of the activeness/freshness of a conversation? How might design help to facilitate better, civil and more timely conversations across Wikipedia?

Modernization, not complete transformation: Improve, don't replace. Talk pages belong to the Wikipedians who use them. How might we honor and respect the years of community work that have gone into the evolution of Talk pages, while improving their utility and civility for all?

Currently working on:

  • Edit notices and alert messages (block, AbuseFilter, protected page messages)

Successfully deployed:

  • User & article talk pages and talk page banners
  • In-app and system notifications

Edit notices and alert messagesEdit

There are a number of error messages and notices that the community has asked to improve the presentation of and/or present earlier in the workflow. You can find a list of the recent tasks here (these tasks are currently in development).


We created designs for and/or updated:

  • Edit notices
  • Abuse filter messages
  • Blocked messages (partial, full & custom)
  • Protected pages notices (partial & full)

Edit notices

Abuse filters

Block messages

Talk pagesEdit

There was a mix of native and non-native iOS talk page experiences. During this project we wanted to update the existing native user talk pages, add native article talk pages and talk page banners so that contributors, across experience levels, can intuitively and confidently communicate with one another on iOS and across platforms. You can find monthly updates here.


Since the Android and Editing teams have worked on talk pages previously, their work was looked into as well as existing research about different Wikipedia namespaces in the beginning of this project. The aim of the research was to map the talk page ecosystem and better understand who uses the pages. The research was consolidated into personas, task model diagrams and journey maps that included the experience of senior editors as well as readers. The senior editors were grouped by different social roles they play on Wikipedia such as: moderator, topic expert, wordsmith, policy guide and page architect.

The team made the decision to primarily focus on a target audience of editors who were considered to be ‘moderators’. These community members help discussion flows without getting too involved, perform and summarize administrative tasks and ask questions of other editors. These type of contributors would do tasks like approve or refuse other editor requests.

Usability TestingEdit

5 usability tests were run, which helped guide and improve talk pages at every stage of the design and development process. First, we tested basic prototypes and asked for feedback on specific screens from new contributors and experienced contributors from our target wikis (English, Arabic, German and Chinese (simplified)).

After gathering the feedback we iterated on the designs and the team started developing the feature. Next, we ran another set of usability tests with our beta build with new and experienced contributors. You can find more information here.


Different iOS talk page designs are being explored, where many of the components are being adapted from the Editing and Android teams talk page research and designs.

The new designs...

  • Provide a bigger visual distinction between article and user talk pages
  • Better indicate when threads are active or inactive
  • Show talk page banners
  • Have access to archived pages
  • Show new threading for nested replies & deeply nested replies that doesn't rely on indentation
  • Show editors more detailed information on topic pages
  • Have access to 'Find in page', 'Share', and 'Edit history'
  • New flows for replying to a comment and adding a topic

Article & user talk pages and talk page banners

Archived pages


Additional actions/views: find in page, share and revision history

Replying to messages and adding topics to talk pages


Push notifications and in-app notifications are now available via the Wikipedia iOS app. For frequently asked questions about notifications in the app, please visit the iOS FAQ page.

The inclusion of notifications in the iOS app makes it easier for editors who use iOS devices to be notified about new messages and alerts that they have, without having to voluntarily open the app or website to check. Throughout this work, we aimed to ensure that the usability of notifications is clear and did not disrupt editors' existing flows. We built this feature with consistency with iOS system elements in mind, to ensure that the feature feels at home on its platform.

To learn more about this project, please visit the Notifications project page.


This project built off of the work of the Editing and Android teams for notifications. For this project the iOS team focused on improving the mapping of notification types. Additional research was conducted via an unmoderated diary study with experienced editors. For more information about the diary study, please visit the Notifications project page.

Anatomy of a notificationEdit

Our work on notifications comprises of three core components:

  • System (iOS) native push notifications
  • In-app Notification Center
  • Ensuring notifications are actionable
System levelEdit
  • Lock screen: Appears on the lock screen of the device. Supports tap through and detail view.
  • Banner: Appears at the top of the screen for a few seconds while the device is in use, then disappears. Supports tap through and detail view.
  • System notification center: Notifications that are not acted on (dismissed or tap through) are
  • Badging: Appears on app icon.
In-app levelEdit
  • Notification center: A space within the app where unread and archived notifications and alerts are available to logged-in users.
  • Notification message: String and links sent from the server to the app, which is shown in system level notifications and in the app-level notification center.
  • Notification message primary link: Primary action associated with the notification, tapping on a notification in the in-app notification center will push to this page.
  • Notification message secondary links: 2-3 secondary links, accessible through the in-app notification center or through the system notification detail view.


Below are designs for each of the three component areas. Significantly more design details and background are available on this Phabricator ticket and subtasks. For detailed mock-ups of designs please see Figma.

Testing and feedbackEdit

Once the internal build was ready, usability tests were run to ensure that all elements of the feature are understandable and actionable. The target audiences included:

  1. New editors who may have never seen a notification from Wikipedia before
  2. Experienced editors (to ensure that the feature meets the expectations they may have from using notifications on desktop)

With these two distinct groups in mind, our aim in testing was to perform an unmoderated usability test of just the in-app features with new users followed by an unmoderated longitudinal study (weeklong diary study, with a webform and follow-up questions) with current editors.

If you would like to read more about the findings of these studies, please visit the Notifications project page.

Any feedback you have on Notifications is very welcome, please visit: Talk:Wikimedia Apps.