Submissions:2018/Support for users across all devices: the uncertain history and future of MediaWiki mobile support

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Due to limited space, WikiConference North America 2018 unfortunately could not accommodate this submission in its program this year.
Please check out our Unconference for opportunities to present and share there.

Support for users across all devices: the uncertain history and future of MediaWiki mobile support
Theme (optional)
Inclusion & Diversity / Tech & Tools
Academic Peer Review option
Type of submission
Isarra Yos
E-mail address
Wikimedia username
Affiliation(s) (optional)

Mobile support is a very major problem for Wikimedia and with MediaWiki in general. Mobile is currently the main way a majority of people access Wikipedia and the sister projects, and for readers and users in some regions, may even be the only way they can.

And yet most skins simply don't support mobile at all, only providing a usable desktop experience. Minerva/MobileFrontend resolves the problem to some extent for readers, but presents major issues and limitations for editors and desktop use cases, as it does this primarily by removing features entirely. Timeless as another skin attempts to resolve mobile issues for editors with a more full-featured scaled interface, but also doesn't actually work in practice largely due to a lack of MediaWiki core support and even the content itself - most content and common features of the software itself simply are not responsive to begin with. And yet the fact of the matter is we need to be able to effectively support users across all devices with a single, cohesive interface, scaling responsively to properly fit each.

To do this will require both an understanding of where we have come from as communities and with our products, and also considerable work from developers and editors alike. While work has been ongoing toward this end for years now, let's discuss how we can all help to move this forward more effectively.

Length of presentation
15-30 min
Special requests
Preferred room size
Have you presented on this topic previously? If yes, where/when?
Not that I can think of.
If you will be incorporating a slidedeck during your presentation, do you agree to upload it to Commons before your session, with a CC-BY-SA 4.0 license, including suitable attribution in the slidedeck for any images used?
If I remember.
Will you attend WikiConference North America if your submission is not accepted?

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  1.  Nova Crystallis (Talk) 21:18, 15 August 2018 (UTC)
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  3. Bawolff (talk) 17:10, 1 September 2018 (UTC)
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