Wikimedia Research/Design Research
Design Research is a part of the Wikimedia Research Team. We collaborate with the WIkimedia Community, Research, Design, Product and Technology, and Community Engagement. Through our research we seek to understand how individuals use technology to interact with Wikimedia projects. Our work helps inform decisions about the design of Wikimedia projects with the goal of helping users interact with Wikipedia and each other in more practical and meaningful ways.
- 1 Discover with us!
- 2 Who we are
- 3 What we do
- 4 Why we do it
- 5 Who benefits
- 6 How we do it
- 7 Cross - team projects and generative research
- 8 Design Research projects by team
- 9 Resources
Discover with us!
User centered design starts with you!
Whether you're already an experienced user, you've never touched the edit tab, or you're somewhere in between, your contributions are valuable and welcome.
We invite you to participate in future design research. Help us discover the needs of individuals around the globe.
Take our survey
Complete this quick survey to let us know you would like to participate in our research. The survey is hosted by Qualtrics, a third party software, which has been reviewed by our Legal and Contracts team. Your answers help us match you to future research projects. You can opt out at anytime by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and asking us to remove your information.
Start a conversation
You can also let us know that you are interested in participating by pressing the "Discussions" tab above and leaving us a message.
Who we are
Core team members
Supporting team members
What we do
The Design Research Team works with a wide variety of individuals all around the globe. Some are already familiar with Wikimedia projects, and some are not. We observe how research participants use technology to interact with Wikimedia projects, and we talk with them about their experiences.
In partnership with our research participants, we are able to generate rich data in the form of interviews, surveys, usability studies, and field notes.
We feel it is important to keep our research public, so we publish it on wiki and in open research archives where anyone can learn from it. WMF teams also use this research to help decide what they should build next and how to build it.
Why we do it
We learn a lot when we observe how individuals interact with Wikimedia projects and when they share their stories with us. All of the information we collect helps us make better decisions about what improvements to make next and how to make using Wikimedia projects a better experience for everyone.
WMF teams, Wikimedia movement partners, and others who want to understand what people want and need from the technologies they use.
How we do it
Design research is an essential part of Human Centered Design and research based design. The Design Research team at Wikimedia foundation actively collaborates with product teams (Editing, Reading and Discovery), other teams in the Wikimedia Foundation (for example: Learning and Evaluation, Performance, Security, New Readers) and Wikimedia communities in support of access to and contribution to free knowledge. In order to do this work, we perform both evaluative and generative design research. There is not a clean cut line between these types of research, and we often do both for a project.
Generative research (for example: Contextual inquiry, ethnographic interviews, surveys) contributes to concept development by better understanding needs, constraints, contexts, motivations and goals of people so they can more easily access and potentially contribute to free knowledge. We talk with people, meet them where they work and live, and learn from people (the experts in what they need) so we can collaborate with others to improve how people access and contribute to free knowledge. Generative research is most successfully done outside the product development cycles, as it is on a different time line. Generative research, like the experimentation and iteration our partner team, Research and Data does, is most effective when given the required time and space to be done well. Once complete, the concepts and ideas that 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.
Evaluative research is an important set of methods the team employs to evaluate concepts and ideas with users, to test prototypes to ensure they are usable by the people they are being designed and built for. Evaluative research is done within product development cycles in close collaboration with product development teams. It is iterative and has successfully contributed to making functionality more usable, discoverable and designed and built around the needs of the specific people the functionality is created for.
You can see a beginning of a methods menu here. Also, see the recording of our Design Research workshop. There are explanations of: design research, participant recruiting, our work processes, how design and design research collaborate together, and more.
Cross - team projects and generative research
New Readers Contextual Inquiries
This research, called New Readers is informing several product teams, the Communications, Partnerships, and Community Resources Teams, as well as WMF as a whole. (see link below for description) and are collaborating with Reboot, a design research consultancy who does contextual inquiries regularly and provided the required operations, security and logistics and expertise for this work in Nigeria and India.
This project is in progress (March - July 2016), and presentation of the process, findings, opportunity areas and plans for products, communications and partnerships will be shared when it is ready.
Mexico Contextual Inquiry
The New Readers project, led by the WMF Design Research team, implemented the Mexico contextual inquiry with a small team of staff from Wikimedia Foundation.
Here is documentation of the data, process and findings.
Also see this 15 minute presentation of the high level findings presented at the March, 2016 of the Wikimedia Foundation Monthly Metrics presentation. You can access the recording here. (starts at about 20:00 in the overall Metrics Meeting)
Nigeria Contextual Inquiry
This work is in progress. 72 interviews were completed and documented off wiki (because of intermittent internet access), analyzed and Synthesized. 3 personas were developed, along with user journeys and patterns, opportunity areas and concepts are continuing to be evolved.
India Contextual Inquiry
This work is in the late stages of planning and implementation of the contextual inquiry begin on June 13, 2016. Implementation
- Personas for product development (first round)
Design Research projects by team
- Editing, general
- Editing on desktop/laptop
- Moderated Sessions for VE discovery and usability, brand new and casual editors (March 2015)
- UserTesting.com for basic editing tasks on VE, brand new editors (April 2015)
- Usability testing citations dialogue on VE, brand new editors (May 2015)
- Collection of VE Research
- Heuristic Evaluation of image upload in the visual editor, (October, 2015)
- Link Inspector Usability Testing November 2015
- Mobile editing
- Guerrilla Testing for iOS iPad Visual Editor
- Heuristic Evaluation for Visual Editor (iOS)
- Heuristic Evaluation for Mobile Web Visual Editor (Android)
- Guerrilla Testing for iOS iPad Visual Editor
- Account creation:
- Wikimedia Language engineering
- Please see the Reading Team UX Research wiki page for all current work/links to projects from FY2014-15 Q3 forward.
- Reader Behavior Exploratory Research (February - March 2015)
- Guerrilla Testing On-boarding Page and some discovery about readers and their thoughts on editing
- Guerrilla Testing Table of Contents discovery
- Guerrilla Testing iOS App
- Guerrilla Testing Reading Behavior (App Layouts) October 3, 2014
- Guerrilla Testing, March 24, 2015: Description editing
- Guerrilla Testing iOS 5 Navigation October 2015
- Link previews
Search and Discovery
User experience / beta features
Resources for conducting design research
- A Beginner's Guide to Finding User Needs — free e-book introduction to conducting design research by User:Jan_Dittrich_(WMDE)
- Wikimedia Research/Usability testing — Short FAQ and How-to guide for conducting usability tests
- How to add research recordings to Wikimedia Commons. (Not only applicable to design research, but handy to have around)
- Participant recruiting process
Resources for learning about design research:
- Wikimedia Research/Research and Data — our partner team
- Wikimedia Research/Design Research/Reading Team UX Research — Design Research conducted for the WMF Reading department.
- Design — Wikimedia Foundation design
- Research index — research portal on Meta
- WMDE Engineering/UserExperience — design research page for Wikimedia Deutschland
- Risker's checklist for content-creation extensions - Resulting from her experience as a Checkuser, Oversighter, administrator and editor, Risker provides important considerations for anyone creating content-creation extensions.