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Why should your content be portable?

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Your pages look great on your desktop or laptop. Maybe you've put a lot of time and effort into a really fun main page that wows visitors, your infoboxes offer a wealth of viewing options, and you've possibly put a lot of thought into organizing your article content into separate tabs. Making all that mobile-friendly would mean to change a lot of your previous work. Is it really worth all that? Are there really that many people that want to read your pages on mobile, and is their current user experience really so bad that you'd have to change your wiki for them?

Do I really have that many mobile visitors?

Wikimania 2016 - Adapting for mobile consumption by Jon Katz30:45

Wikimania 2016 - Adapting for mobile consumption by Jon Katz

When you talk to others on your wiki, or look at your own editing and reading habits, it probably seems like mobile users are only a fraction of your visitors. If your wiki is on a PC game, maybe you're pretty sure your visitors wouldn't use mobile, since they're already using a desktop or laptop to play. Maybe you even have access to metrics for your wiki, and you can see that your mobile visitors aren't that many, compared to your desktop visitors.

Are you sure though that isn't because mobile viewers have trouble with some or many of your pages, and don't come back after their first look?

What percentage of visitors is using a mobile device such as a smartphone or template varies between different communities. Some have a user base that is more active on their phones than others (teens, I'm looking at you). As a general rule across Fandom, however, more than 50 percent of visits come from mobile. This means, on average, more than half of your page views come from a mobile device.

Mobile growth desktop stagnation

While the number of desktop users has stayed roughly the same in the past year, the number of mobile users has been steadily growing. In January 2015, their numbers surpassed Fandom's desktop users for the first time and users on phones or tablets have been taking up a larger and larger part of Fandom's total page views since.

Wikia mobile traffic growth

Mobile users are taking over not just Fandom - but the whole internet! Take a look at the recent trends and future growth predictions for mobile traffic - it's staggering.

Content doesn't look that bad on my phone!

Many pages on Fandom look perfect on desktop, but are very frustrating to read on mobile. For example, they may not adjust to a smaller screensize, so your visitors have to push the page left and right with every line to read text or view all images. The layout may get jumbled up, and some page elements may disappear completely. If that's the case, it's pretty obvious that you need to make some changes, right?

But what if you've looked at your own pages on your phone or tablet, and you can't really see anything wrong with them?

Remember: Mobile devices come in many different sizes, operating systems, configurations, and their users might be holding them horizontally, vertically, or - who knows - upside down. Don't assume that someone else looking at the same page as you, but using a different device, will see the exact same.

Smartwatch retinaboys Flickr

Future devices

What's more, Fandom currently has many workarounds, hacks, and other tricks in place to make content work on mobile that was originally designed for desktop. For example, if something has two columns, it's classified as an infobox, and displayed on smaller screens in a way that should make a normal infobox look relatively okay. But what if it's not an infobox, but a table with a completely different layout and purpose?

Theses hacks are becoming harder and harder for Fandom to maintain as new standards evolve on the internet, and more and more different devices are introduced. Now that we have smartwatches, smartglasses, and more new gadgets being invented, it's really hard to predict what kind of device your content will have to fit on (and function on) next! That means that even if your content still looks pretty okay on most phones now, it may not look okay on all devices, or continue to look okay in the future.

Portability doesn't just matter to mobile readers

There's another reason, besides helping out your mobile visitors, why you want your content to be portable: it will allow your community to benefit from future features and technological developments. Separating your wiki's content from your designs and styling by making it portable opens up a host of possibilities for using that information in new and exciting ways. Read here to find out what this could look like.

What to do now?

There's a lot you can do to check your existing content for portability issues, and make changes.

If you still need help, or would like to discuss the pros and cons of portable content, come to the forums!


Fandom University - Content Portability02:19

Fandom University - Content Portability

Intro to Content Portability

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