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 deliver compelling experiences to Wikipedia readers in emerging markets, driving increased adoption and retention of Wikipedia in areas where internet use is rapidly growing.
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.
When designing and building products for people in Emerging Markets, this team will:
- Focus on emerging markets readers
- Build for mobile-first experiences
- Explore new form factors
- Introduced a feature where when KaiOS users in India want to select their preferred language, regional languages are shown first on the list https://phabricator.wikimedia.org/T247255
- Fixes to support how the app works on Jiophone 2 which has a qwerty keyboard rather than a candybar keyboard https://phabricator.wikimedia.org/T248285 https://phabricator.wikimedia.org/T248443 https://phabricator.wikimedia.org/T250642
- Allow users to provide feedback from within the app https://phabricator.wikimedia.org/T236317
- User testing on how users would discover that Wikipedia Preview is available on a website
- Began framing what the Wikipedia Preview experience would look like on mobile phones https://phabricator.wikimedia.org/T250796
The past year was focused on building the Inuka team with a designer, two engineers and a technical program manager onboarded in the third quarter. The team also spent time identifying potential opportunities and focused work on the development of the beta version of the Wikipedia app for KaiOS.
In the 2020/2021 fiscal year, the team's priorities are:
- To launch the beta version of the Wikipedia for KaiOS app. You can follow the progress of work on KaiOS on phabricator with the tag #kaios-wikipedia-app
- To extend Wikipedia access to 3rd party sites through the development and piloting of Wikipedia Preview which shows previews of Wikipedia content
- Work with communities to understand how we can serve readers in emerging markets better
- Explore what contributions the team can make to Education based on the impacts of covid on the education sector
In the 2019/2020 fiscal year, the team's priority is to add new form factors and localized content to substantially extend product experiences in order to grow readership worldwide.
The team plans to do this in the following ways:
- Design a custom Wikipedia app experience for smart feature phones
- Partner with communities to make the mobile web main page more useful to readers in Emerging Markets through new tools
- Extend Wikipedia experiences to external products
Smart feature phones are reported to be in 100 million devices around the world. Based on the KaiOS platform, smart feature phones allow users to experience mobile apps in a similar fashion to apps on Android/iOS.
The experience of users on the Wikipedia mobile web is challenging because of the form factor of a feature phone with a none-touch screen. The team will build an experience to allow readers to easily access written knowledge in a form that fits the device.
Initiative 2: Make the mobile web main page more useful
The mobile web main page in many smaller wiki communities hardly changes as it requires substantive effort from community members to keep it up to date on a daily basis. The main page could be a great channel for readers to discover content that is useful and meaningful to them. The team will explore features that make it possible to increase the relevance of content for readers on the main page.
Initiative 3: Extend Wikipedia experiences to external products
The team will explore and experiment with making it possible to read and interact with Wikipedia content outside of Wikipedia.