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Design explorations that make user preferences accessible to mobile web editors
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Description

Problem

Mobile web editors don't have the same access to user preferences as desktop editors do (people who visit Wikipedia with a laptop or a computer with a large external display). Mobile web editors could still access those "desktop" settings if they know the URL by heart, but the provided experience is not bespoke for mobile consumption, notably:

  • Preferences are presented with tabs that scroll horizontally, but there is no clear clue that the section is scrollable.
  • The target area and links are not designed for people who interact with their devices via touch.
  • There are numerous categories hidden off screen, and no additional detail is provided to support discovery.

Screen Shot 2022-05-05 at 15.10 1.jpg (1×750 px, 262 KB)

Jobs to be done

When I access Wikipedia settings from my mobile device I want to understand the available options so I can use the provided information to find and customize what I need.

Proposed solution

A. In-page menu with icons

In this proposal, we explore if additional icons and text can provide a better navigation experience:

  • icons add visual cues to increase discovery
  • text descriptions provide information about the content behind

iPhone 8 - 102.jpg (1×750 px, 69 KB)

B. Scrollable tabs

We would like to explore possible ways to enhance the existing pattern and potentially bring desktop and mobile closer. In this proposal, we:

  • increased the target area to welcome touch input
  • increased the space between tabs to avoid any possible mis-touch
  • add a gradient to signal that there's something off screen and that the tabs area can scroll

iPhone 8 - 104.jpg (1×750 px, 73 KB)

C. In-page blue text buttons

Another assumption that we would like to explore is if icons are necessary to scan and navigate this menu. In this proposal, we:

  • use the color blue to signify that text is interactive
  • leverage the description to provide addition information and guidance

iPhone 8 - 103.jpg (1×750 px, 69 KB)

D. Nested menu

In this proposal, we explore if a nested (or second layer) menu could improve context while navigating the settings, thank to the content being visible in the background while the menu is open in the foreground.

iPhone 8 - 139.jpg (1×750 px, 46 KB)

Mocks of proposed designs for usability testing

Steps
  1. Tap the menu icon (also known as hamburger icon) in the top left corner, next to the Wikipedia logotype
  2. Tap the "Settings" menu item, look for the small gear cog/wheel
  3. Navigate the settings on mobile web

English

German

Event Timeline

I think A or C make the most sense. B seems problematic as the tabs not visible without scrolling horizontally will be less discoverable.

Just leaving this here to note that even on Desktop I'm starting to find this problematic and last year I experimented with some CSS and turned the interface into a vertical tab interface. So I definitely think there is some substance to this getting rid of the horizontal tabs interface.
https://twitter.com/dj_hartman/status/1425426421820936201

E8ghgwRWYAAB-Xf.jpeg (1×1 px, 183 KB)

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This exploration is effectively complete - we've opted for Option A for the main menu design.

Further feedback on this and other elements of the preferences design can be posted on MediaWiki.