In the newcomer homepage project, we worked on giving a place to newcomers that orients them toward accomplishing the goal they describe in the welcome survey. In discussing, researching, and user testing for that project, the idea of a user profile also came up frequently. An important distinction between a "homepage" and a "profile page" is that a "homepage" contains tools and resources a user needs to consume, whereas a "profile page" contains content that the user wants to broadcast out to others. Many software platforms mix those concepts into one page, but we started out simply by working on a homepage and keeping the concepts separate. On this page, we start talking about the user profile concept.
To-do list items for this page:
- Add the structure of a full project page.
- Include relevant information from homepage user tests.
- Include relevant information from competitive analysis.
- Include evaluation of previous WMF work on this topic: GlobalProfile/design
Movement strategy recommendation
The Diversity working group of the 2018-2020 movement strategy process has identified "Parameterized User Pages for Encouraging and Measuring Community Diversity" as a recommendation. As of August 2019, it is still a draft recommendation, which can be found here. The idea is that a structured profile could help newcomers become more attached to the wiki, promote diversity by helping people explain who they are and where they come from, and help users find others with similar interests.
Notes from Growth team offsite (April 2019)
During the week of April 15, 2019, the Growth team spent time exploring the idea of structured user profiles on wikis. We started with a series of quotes from live homepage user tests, in which users expressed frustrations or confusion around the homepage's lack of user profile elements:
- "spell things out a little more clearly about how to get to your User page, what it's for and how it differs from the home page"
- "verified that NewToWiki123 exists... how do I not exist?"
- "I can't believe that it's not already set-up"
- "Homepage is to help get me writing, editing, things of that nature. There's really nothing here (on the user page) telling me what it is."
- "I sort of expected to have at least a shell of a user page here."
- "I'm hoping there would be a template to walk me through it."
- "I think it would be nice to have a profile, perhaps that you can make public (or not), that has things in it like an image or photo, your main interests, minor interests, etc."
- "I'm having a tough time differentiating between homepage and user page […] I'm gonna say user page is the library of everything I have completed"
- "It's the public page about me, about the history of what I contributed"
- "It's like a YouTube channel, showing everything I've created."
- "It's almost like a CV, for Wikipedia, and the work I've done on here."
The team broke into pairs to come up with challenges and components for addressing these user challenges. Below is an aggregation of all the pairs' thoughts:
- How to be clear about what information is public and what is private
- How not to open a new vector for abuse
- How user profiles can be monitored and oversighted through existing processes
- How user profiles can work well on mobile
- How to deal with the issues that come from allowing people to set avatars or profile photos
- Hoe experienced users can retain flexibility to have any sort of user page they prefer
- How users can connect with others via the identities they build on wiki
- Ideas for components and characteristics (these are just ideas -- not requirements)
- User pages could be modular and allow users to add or remove structured components, as well as have places for arbitrary wikitext. As a wiki page, it would be easy to revert, oversight, etc.
- If user profiles contain modules, perhaps community members could be empowered to build new kinds of modules? Similar to or using templates?
- Show edit pencils on each of the components of the user page (just to the user whose page it is?) so that they remember it is editable.
- Data should be gathered in a privacy-forward way that makes it clear what will be publicly and permanently accessible.
- Ideas for specific elements
- Edit count
- Mentorship status
- Accomplishments section for barnstars, awards, and thanks
- Could draw on the most popular existing userboxes -- or could just have a structured place for userboxes.
- Show example user pages to inspire the newcomers. Perhaps these examples could be chosen to expose similarly interested people, and maybe inspire connection.
- A wizard workflow could take over the whole experience to build a userpage.
- Instead of clicking publish before seeing a preview of editing, a live preview on half the screen could be inspiring.
- Users should have in-context help or guidance while constructing.
- A healthy user page should stay interesting over time, by counting things or aggregating awards, or automatically promoting the user.
- It should capture structured data that can be used for other things like task recommendations or neighborhood connections.
- A layout idea: columns on the left that are menus that open more columns for templated things to add. On the right is the live preview.
- All user pages can come with the basics without any action by the user: username, age, edits, awards. But perhaps the user would have to acknowledge that they want it on their user page. Perhaps when the user first visits their blank user page: “Create with basic info?”
- This idea was also proposed on the Community Wishlist 2022.
- There could be a minimal way to begin this project that might just be a simple template that shows up on a blank user page when the user creates it via the homepage. This would be an easy way to figure out if adding some structure makes a difference for a newcomer's success at creating their userpage. We could also look at whether such a template would reduce the percentage of user pages that are deleted or blanked.
- One of the modules a user could add to a page is one that lists their recent activity, pages where they're most active, or perhaps just a copy of their impact module.