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Extension:CentralNotice/Design Research 2017

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CentralNotice is a banner broadcasting, mass communication tool that is used to engage with our entire user base, both readers and editors alike, making it one of the most powerful non-profit communication tools on the planet. It sits alongside a number of communication tools

You might have seen it in action when seeing notices about fundraising, community projects or events, surveys, movement requests for comment and most famously with the SOPA/PIPA blackout in 2012 [1]. Up until now its main driver of development has been its use by the Foundation's fundraising teams but programmatic use of this tool

WMF structure and context[edit]

The Wikimedia Foundation is a non-profit based in the US. As such, we are subject to US laws and basic convention for fiscal responsibility. The Advancement (Fundraising) budget is a fixed proportion of our annual budget. The Fundraising Tech team’s budget is an even smaller fraction of that share. The small amount of resources we can commit to Central Notice are needed to support fundraising activities. If we identify needs and requests outside of the fundraising requests, we can make an appeal for funds and personnel to support them.

At a higher level, Fundraising Tech does not need to be the sole owner of Central Notice. At least half of today’s Central Notice activities are for other communities and projects. Advancement will continue to be a major stakeholder. However, Fundraising Tech would like help to open Central Notice to internal WMF engineering and form a more transparent and collaborative community.

The Research Project[edit]

To start, we admit that there has been no research about this tool in recent memory. David Strine (Fr-tech product manager) and Joseph Seddon (Community Liaison??) wish to embarking on a research project to objectively collect feedback from parts of WMF and the community. The focus for this research will be the technical capabilities and functionality of the system. What are the common usages for this product? Through conversation and observation, can we find common pain points? How might we improve collaboration between users? The ultimate goal is to find themes in the answers to these questions which can be translated into solutions and new features. This will be the core of a backlog and roadmap for Central Notice.

The research will consist of interviews (individual and groups) and active walkthroughs of the tool. The interviews will be open conversations about the tool. Walkthroughs will be recordings of a user interacting with the tool.

The Design Research team is helping with the setup of the meetings and analysis of the notes. The results of the research will be shared with the community and used to drive improvements and new features.


We have a longer breakdown of our methods.


We have a longer writeup on our results.