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Wikimedia Research/Design Research

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Design Research at the Wikimedia Foundation, also known as Design Strategy, seeks to understand the needs, motivations, goals and challenges of people who consume and/or contribute to free knowledge. We employ a variety of research methods to understand how individuals in diverse contexts use our products and other technologies to interact with Wikimedia projects. Our research informs the design of products, programs, and strategies that serve our users and enhance their experience on our platforms. We collaborate with product teams, designers, engineers, data analysts, global research partners, users, and Wikimedia communities around the world to ensure rigor and reliability in our work. Our goal is to support the creation of meaningful positive experiences for the millions of readers and contributors who use Wikipedia and its sister projects every day.



Design research is used to learn about the needs, motivations, and contexts of people we design and build for. It is used to iterate design and technological solutions to be intuitive, useful, usable, and fit within (and not break) users' workflows. In order to do this work, we perform both evaluative and generative design research using qualitative and quantitative methodologies. There is not a clear distinction between evaluative and generative research, so we often do both in projects.

Generative research (for example: Contextual inquiry, unstructured interviews) provides a better understanding of needs, goals, challenges, constraints, contexts, and motivations of people who want to or do access and potentially contribute to free knowledge. are generated from this work are more likely to succeed because they are informed and created from understanding the people (and their technology) who will use them, their needs, contexts, constraints, etc. Generative research is many times done at the beginning of a product development cycle, to inform the project's direction.

Evaluative research (for example: usability testing, concept testing) is an important set of methods the team employs to evaluate concepts, prototypes and current functionality with users. Testing functionality and ideas with the users we are building them for, ensures that functionality is usable and useful for the people they are being designed and built for. Evaluative research is done within product development cycles in close collaboration with product development teams. Evaluative research generally is faster, and requires less participants than generative research.

Our Projects


Visit our Design Strategy website to learn more about our priorities, our projects and how to participate in our research.



Participate in Product Design Research


We are always in need of research participants. Learn more about our research participation program and sign up for our research participant pool.

Design Research Office Hours


Design Researchers, along with other Research Team members, host regular office hours. This is an opportunity for the Wikimedia Community to discuss and receive guidance on how to use design and user research.

What to expect in sessions:

  • Each session is 30 minutes long, private, and bookable via the appointment schedules found here.
  • While all the researchers can answer questions about research methodologies and scoping, the following depths are available with individual researchers:
    • Bethany: user research at the WMF
    • Claudia: community moderation and Anti-Harassment Tools
    • Daisy: usability, surveys, Product teams
    • Eli: language, usability, contextual inquiry, prototype testing, international research
    • Leila: research requests
    • Mike: language (quantitative/qualitative), survey design, testing, evaluation

When you book, please include a brief description of what you’d like to discuss as well as links to any relevant documents for the discussion.

Appointments are available via the researcher appointment schedules.



Conducting design research: tools and resources

[Outdated] Project List
Pages in Category:Design_Research
Subpages of Wikimedia Research/Design Research