Inuka (formerly New Readers)
Millions of people in emerging markets are coming online for the first time. It is imperative that our projects support and welcome new readers with access to knowledge that matches how they consume content on the internet.
The Wikimedia Foundation Inuka team (formerly New Readers product team) was formed in July 2019 as part of the Product department. The team's mission is to foster & build localized innovations to meet the knowledge needs of future audiences in areas of recent digital growth, towards a positive impact on adoption and retention while driving awareness of & engagement with Wikipedia and Wikimedia content for reduction of knowledge gaps.
Why the name Inuka?
Inuka is a Kiswahili word that means "to rise". Our team's mission is to raise the relevance of Wikipedia and other Wikimedia project content to readers in emerging markets who are not accessing it yet. We chose to use a name from a language spoken in a part of emerging markets, in Africa, as a way to remind us of the audience we want to reach with our product choices. It is aspirational, and reminds the team that everything we build or implement should be taking us towards the goal of raising worldwide readership.
- Foster & build localized innovations to meet the knowledge needs of future audiences in areas of recent digital growth, towards a positive impact on adoption and retention while driving awareness of & engagement with Wikipedia and Wikimedia content for reduction of knowledge gaps.
When writing the above mission statement, we considered three areas;
- Why do we exist
- Millions of people in areas of recent digital growth are coming online for the first time. Newer platforms are growing exponentially, and the internet is becoming more multi-modal, interactive and social. These changes challenge both our contribution and consumption models. The need to adapt to these opportunities has risen due to the changing expectations of our users about digital products.
- The urgency of meeting the demands requires the team to develop local innovations to meet the specific needs of future audiences.It is imperative that our projects support and welcome new readers (and contributors) with access to knowledge that matches how they interact with content on the internet.
- Who do we serve
- Sharing the sum of all knowledge will not happen until everyone has access to all knowledge equally. Knowledge on Wikimedia sites does not reach all audiences. While some audiences have firmly established their place as content consumers and creators, other groups who have had a late start in digital adoption are finding their space in the Wikimedia movement in ways that match their state of digital reality.
- To make meaningful efforts through focused initiatives, we need to identify audiences and groups who can be engaged in ways that best serve their immediate needs for knowledge equity, within the scope of technology and resources currently supported through the Wikimedia Foundation. This will pave the way for consistent engagement into wider groups, through extended capacity, evolving technology, and programmatic support.
- What value do we bring to the movement
- Wikimedia projects are essential in the infrastructure of knowledge sharing on the internet. However, our share of media interaction and consumption is still growing as more people come online. It is essential to find opportunities that can match/exceed the quality of experience that users are being offered that can have a position impact on adoption and retention indicators. The simplest way to do that is to re-use and refine popular platforms' patterns, methods and mental models
Below are some of our team principles when designing and building products for emerging audiences and underserved communities:
- Explore new form factors
- We build for audiences that have the ability to benefit from digital information and services in a format that fits their access patterns.
- We explore new and upcoming formats that diverge from our traditional offering of long-form articles.
- We focus on new knowledge consumers and contributors where we see interactions such as content amplification, preservation, curation etc.
- This can either be on-wiki or off-wiki experiences accessible on different/any devices.
- Emerging audiences and underserved communities centric
- The identity of audiences within areas of recent digital growth, and their unifying elements can largely determine the scope of activities serving their needs. This would ensure that project specific scope, resourcing, implementation, and impact measurement can be handled effectively and appropriately.
- The Inuka team meets users where they are and builds local innovations that are scalable to meet the emerging/growing needs for new audiences.
- Confluence of product, programs, & partnerships
- Projects for emerging audiences and under-served communities will require the creation of last mile connection routes to users, to meet them where they are. Collaborators within the Wikimedia movement i.e. affiliates, usergroups, grantees, and others, will require extended stakeholding to create successful partnerships for these initiatives.
- Strategic collaborations - either through programmatic activity or business partners, and depending on objectives helps us to scale in terms of scope, diversity, and reach.
- Experiment, iterate & learn
- Through experiments, we propose and test hypotheses for audiences contributing and consuming information in experiences and forms that diverge from our traditional offering of a website with articles.
- This entails a lot of learning and iterating in an uncertain and agile environment and being ready to sunset products in the event of failure and providing to the movement recommendations for our learnings.
- Short development cycle
- The urgency of meeting the demands in emerging audiences and underserved communities, require our products to be developed swifty, be nimble, and reach a large number of people quickly. The Inuka team aims to have a fast turn around on experimentation, implementation and product development.
- We build products while keeping in mind compliance with universal standards of internationalization equity, and made ready for immediate or future use in all languages of the world.
Inuka Annual Planning
- 2023-24 : The Inuka team's work for next fiscal is guided by the Wikimedia Foundation Annual Plan, and specifically Product & Technology department's Objectives and Key Results. The Inuka team builds for audiences that have the ability to benefit from digital information and services in a format that fits their access patterns hence see ways for the Inuka team to contribute to Future Audiences bucket. We expect to split our time between committed work and hypothesis testing for the potential proposed annual priorities.
- 2022-23 ; The Inuka team's work was guided by the Wikimedia Foundation Annual Plan on advancing knowledge equity and specifically through improving user experience. We split our time between active product development and maintenance of existing products. We continued working on the active development of Wikistories for Wikipedia (and paused on Wikistories for commons ) , active maintenance of Wikipedia Preview and passive maintenance of Wikipedia for KaiOS.
- 2019-22; The Inuka team's work was guided by the Wikimedia Foundation Medium Term Plan specifically focussing on Thriving movement and Worldwide readership. All our 4 projects; Wikipedia for KaiOS, Wikipedia Preview, Wikistories for commons and Wikistories for Wikipedia were explored during this time.
Inuka team projects
- Wikistories for Wikipedia lets editors create short, visual and reliable knowledge from Wikipedia for quick consumption and easy sharing. It will generate content in visual format to capture and distribute encyclopedic knowledge that is less suitable for long form articles. This new form of content contribution will take into account the constraints editors in emerging digital communities face when contributing content, and make it easier/more welcoming to contribute to knowledge successfully through mobile phones.
- Wikistories for Commons Visually curated knowledge is an area that needs more exploration in our projects. We see an opportunity around how underrepresented knowledge transcended in diverse ways, the type of knowledge favouring representation as a visual experience. Culture, Art, Heritage, History and Language topics lend itself to this kind of visual representation, as seen in various photo essay campaigns done on Commons. This might be an opportunity to increase underrepresented knowledge in our projects. This project is still on exploration phase.
- Wikipedia Preview allows Wikipedia content to be available as contextual information on 3rd party websites. Wikipedia Preview on partner websites would allow their readers to gain context while reading their pages and help people gain contextual knowledge from Wikipedia without necessarily clicking through to Wikipedia and learn more on Wikipedia with the option being available to read more on Wikipedia. Similar to page previews but for external sites. The code can be integrated into the site, or, if the external site uses WordPress, then they can use the WordPress plugin at https://wordpress.org/plugins/wikipedia-preview/.
- Wikipedia for KaiOS, a Wikipedia reading app for smart feature phones. Availing Wikipedia content on 4G smart, feature phones, would grow knowledge across many parts of emerging markets, specifically India. Released in two versions, one for India and one for rest of the world. Short video of the app.
- Wikistories Indonesia Concept testing research gathered feedback from Indonesian editor communities on early concepts and designs for Wikistories, focusing on the experiences of potential Wikistories creators coming from the editing community
- Wikistories Africa Concept testing user research in Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa with new/potential contributors investigated the behavior of content creators and consumers in three African countries with distinct user behaviors and context especially relating to Wikimedia.
- Understanding KAIOS users in India research to understand why and how these users use these phones. We learnt that users chose to purchase these phones because they're affordable and allow access to apps like smartphones do. We also learned the challenges they face trying to read Wikipedia within the native mobile browser. Challenges included ability to scroll through content, text size on the screen, searching for content and lack of awareness that Wikipedia content is available in multiple languages.
- Early adopters survey feedback In collaboration with Wikimedia Indonesia organized a series of workshops and trainings for Wikistories. These workshops took place in-person in five Indonesian cities (Yogyakarta, Bandung, Padang, Jakarta, and Denpasar) between July and October of 2022. This survey project gathered structured feedback from Indonesian Wikipedia editors who attended these workshops, all of whom were early creators of Wikistories.
- Early adopters moderated research In order to more effectively conduct research with the Indonesian community, we worked with FloLab, a Jakarta-based UI consultant to help us with this project. Our aim was to understand the experiences of early Wikistory adopters, both creators and readers, focusing on their motivations and experiences creating and sharing stories. We also wanted to understand what motivated current and potential Wikistories readers and creators to engage with this feature.
Meet the team
Senior Software Engineer
Senior Software Engineer
Technical Support Manager
Neil Shah Quinn
Senior Data Scientist
Lead Product Manager
Senior Director of Product, Language and Content Growth
Staff Software Engineer/Tech Lead
Senior UX Designer
Community Relationship Specialist
Follow our work
- Monthly/quarterly updates Wikistories for Wikipedia, Wikipedia Preview
- What we are doing currently
- community events reports
- The Inuka team builds for audiences that have the ability to benefit from digital information and services in a format that fits their access patterns (see team principles ). We welcome you to collaborate with us and share on our team talk page ideas/features we should consider developing.
- Contact us on our team's talk page or the talk pages for our projects!