Sign In

Communications of the ACM

ACM TechNews

Wikipedia vs. the Small Screen

Sajjad Altaf, of Findlay, Ohio, edits Wikipedia on a laptop, but increasingly uses a mobile phone.

Wikipedia is striving to develop its site for use with mobile devices.

Credit: Fabrizio Costantini/The New York Times

As Internet users have shifted to mobile devices, Wikipedia has struggled to make the transition. As a result, the Wikipedia Foundation formed a team of 10 software developers to focus on developing the site for use with mobile devices.

Just 20 percent of the readership of the English-language Wikipedia comes via mobile devices, a figure that is much lower than the percentage of mobile traffic for other media sites. In addition, only 1 percent of changes to Wikipedia articles in more than 250 languages are made via mobile devices. The concern is that mobile users are much more likely to read a Wikipedia article than edit it and the shift to mobile away from desktops could pose long-term problems for the site.

"It's a big issue for everyone; the mobile phone is not a great input device--especially a smaller phone," says author Judith Donath. She says mobile "is not the interface for someone writing a long article with footnotes."

Still, the Wikipedia Foundation's Erik Moller is optimistic about adjusting to a mobile world. Moller says focusing on mobile could diversify the editing corps, and notes that 20,000 mobile users now make at least one editing change a month, up from 3,000 last July.

From The New York Times
View Full Article


Abstracts Copyright © 2014 Information Inc., Bethesda, Maryland, USA


No entries found