Wikistories

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The 2030 Movement Strategy lays emphasis on the need to focus attention on the equitable distribution of knowledge sharing opportunities across Wikimedia Communities across the world.

Among the many initiatives being lined up, the Inuka team is preparing for a project focused on visual representation of content available on Wikimedia sites, and workflows that can serve contribution and discovery towards such content.

This initiative is being served under the FY21-22 annual plan of the Wikimedia Foundation, and is expected to be a visual learning experience based on research, community & subject matter knowledge, and design & technical exploration. Details related to this project will be added to this page as it progresses through the next 12 months, and we expect interactions to happen on the project talk page.

Inspiration and short history[edit]

Visual content has played a big part in how Wikimedia project content is consumed. Pictures, audio, video enhance the experience of something as simple as reading a Wikipedia article, and contribute immensely in preserving visual memory through the millions of multimedia content that grows each day in Wikimedia Commons. Campaigns such as Wiki Loves Monuments enrich this global mission, while at the same time provide the fundamental support system to projects like WikiSpecies or Wiki loves butterflies that are run by small groups of volunteers.

With a shift in technology over the last few years, visual forms of engaging with content online have grown globally, with both young and newer internet users being introduced to visually engaging content as their primary internet experience.

Connecting these two aspects, the Inuka team found a potential opportunity to expand how Wikimedia content can be adapted for a more visual experience. Through design experiments and usability studies that contributed towards projects such as Wikipedia KaiOS app and Wikipedia Preview , this exploration progressed in small steps.

With the growing emphasis on designing our products to be more meaningful and inclusive for audiences across regions, demographics and their digital habits, it seemed like a good time to take this exploration further through a project that has been named Wikistories.

Goals[edit]

  • Expand the Wikimedia audience. Reach a larger and more diverse audience.
  • Provide more gradual engagement. Spark interest in topics before users access more dense long-form formats.
  • Surface quality open content. Provide a quick consumption information source that is reliable.

Early Explorations[edit]

Wikistories - WMF Inuka team initial exploration.pdf

We based the concept on the hypothesis that if we provide an easy way for contributors who primarily contribute using their phones, then we will see an increase in the diversity of content being contributed. This can particularly be important for smaller or emerging communities of contributors, whose languages and topics of socio-cultural interest have remained vastly underrepresented on the Wikimedia platform.

A very early version of a design concept was attempted in late 2020 and then again with more details in May 2021.

Example of how someone could highlight text for Wikistories

Upcoming work[edit]

From July to September 2021, the Inuka team plans to do the following for the Wikistories project:

  • Continue exploration of the Wikistories concept
  • Talk to experts - within and outside the Wikimedia Movement
  • Formulate workflows and prototypes for research and feedback
  • Finalize the concept for the first phase of this tool

Participating in Wikistories[edit]

The Inuka team is currently gathering more information and use cases about the Wikistories concept.

If you would like to participate in a research oriented conversation or try out early prototypes when they are available, let us know on the talk page and we will get in touch with you.