WMDE Engineering/UserExperience

. . .WORK IN PROGRESS. We are currently working out the details and will publish them here then. . . .

Statement of PurposeEdit

"We foster a shared understanding of users and their needs based on research to turn ideas into useful & usable products that enable people to share and access knowledge." - WMDE UX & Design Team Purpose created end of 2019

If you want to support us in reaching this mission and participate in user experience activities, please sign up for our mailing list. For more information on participating, see the Participate in UX Activities page. For more information on what UX ("User Experience Design") is, see the Wikipedia article on UX.

How we workEdit

User ResearchEdit

We do user research to better understand the motivations, activities and problems of Wikipedia and Wikidata users.

Even with a good understanding of Mediawiki editing, we can’t know all the different ways people edit, nor could we account for experiences of very new or very experienced users. Research helps us to get a good understanding of these diverse experiences.

While it is great if a researcher (or any other person) knows what users do, it can’t supplement for a common understanding shared by the whole team. Thus, the research results are always summarized and communicated to the entire team. Usually, they are also uploaded on Wikimedia Commons to be publicly shared with the community.

User research also helps to understand and mitigate risks. Any change has risks since a software improvement for one person could also make it worse for another. Doing research with diverse people helps us to understand different viewpoints and to find mutually beneficial solutions.

How to Participate in User ResearchEdit

In order to get these different perspectives from a diverse group of users we need your support! Please check Participate in UX Activities to learn more how you can support our goal of improving the usefulness and usability of Wikimedia projects.

Interface DesignEdit

TODO: Overview from low-fi prototyping to high-fi designs illustrated with example screenshots and links.

Usability TestingEdit

TODO: Explanation what a Usability Test is and why we do it. Information on how to participate.

Current ActivitiesEdit

TODO: Overview of current activities with call to action to participate

  • Technical Wishes: Templates
  • Technical Wishes: Geoinformation
  • Wikibase: Merge function
  • Wikibase: Federated Properties
  • Wikidata: Third Party Databases
  • Wikidata:

Past ActivitiesEdit

(inverse chronological order)


Wikidata: Easier Access for ProgrammersEdit

We want to improve the data access for programmers and tool builders for the open community project Wikidata. For this, we studied the motivations, activities and problems of 4 subject matter experts in open data and 13 Programmers, 11 of them with experience in working with Wikidata. Additionally, 89 community members participated in a survey on their use of different data access methods.

  • People need to know why they should use Wikidata in the first place. What Wikidata offers is different from platforms offering thematically curated data in tabular form, which was how most subject matter experts usually accessed data.
  • Navigating the documentation for data access was a hurdle for both newcomers and even very experienced members of the Wikidata community. The main problem is not one of flawed content but of navigation and finding action-oriented, easy-to-try information
  • For people who want to become more involved and create more complex combinations of tools, it is most likely that learning from and with a community of like-minded people is beneficial. The difficulties to get into contact with others poses a relevant barrier of entry.

Research Report Easier Access for Programmers.pdf (file), published in October 2020

Wikidata Query Creation and List Generation for Data MaintenanceEdit

We talked to 9 users who use queries and lists to support their maintenance work on Wikidata and learned about their workflows.

  • Queries and lists are important tools for Wikidata and Wikipedia maintenance tasks.
  • Queries define the to-be-retrieved data, lists make the retrieved data usable for manual or automated editing for maintenance.
  • Participants query for Items which lack data or have a problematic modeling.
  • The query language SPARQL is often needed to create lists
  • The workflows that our participants showed us used a lot of social and technological skills which need to be learned.

Research Report Wikidata Query Creation and List Generation for Data Maintenance.pdf (file) published May 2020

Report on Wikidata Use in Cultural InstitutionsEdit

From June-September 2019, our UX researcher Jan talked to 16 users who worked at different cultural (“GLAM”) institutions to find out about “How and why do people in cultural institutions use Wikidata?” and thus learn more about participants’ motivations, activities and problems.

In the report, we describe…

  • The advantages participants saw in sharing data
  • Problems of modeling
  • How people come to Wikidata via Wikimedia Commons

Wikidata Use in Cultural Institutions (pdf), published 11/2019, data gathering and analysis June-September 2019

Workflows and motivations of Wikidata editorsEdit

Wikidata Editors…

  • …worked from lists (Petscan; Listeria, Recent changes…) which provide an overview of ToDos and provide links to the items (see graphic)
  • …had large ("reduce gender gap") and more concrete topics ("add woman painters from the 18th century from a catalog") they care about
  • …used references, ranks and value specifiers rarely. These functions are often not understood as intended

Workflows and motivations of Wikidata editors, late 2017 (which has a summary, results and the archived call for participants)

Wiktionary UsersEdit
  • An interest in Language(s) itself seems to be common: linguistics, learning languages, preserving a language, etymology... Specializations are more towards »improving etymologies«, »vocabulary I learned« and less towards a topic like »Animals« or »Technology«.
  • Data on Wiktionary is structured explicitly using Wikitext templates. Links to words, grammatical Forms, phonetic transcription etc. have own templates. Knowing the most basic templates (~20) is needed to edit Wiktionary successfully.
  • The communities are much smaller than the one on de.WP or en.WP. This leads to “Recent Changes” being actually useful and that Article talk pages are less used. Instead, meeting places like “tea room” are used for article discussions. A small community does not mean that people know each other in person.

Wiktionary Users early 2017 (to pdf with summary poster on Wikimedia Commons)

Heavy Commons UsersEdit

Summary: People who often contribute to Wikimedia commons use various tools that play an important role in their work With these tools they can do bulk edits (which is the most frequent type of editing). They structure data with templates and categories; maintenance categories serve to signify TODOs. To find the "right" categories to add, they look at similar images or traverse categories. Finding images is not easy, they look at categories or use the commons link in Wikipedia Articles.

Heavy Commons Users, late 2016 (to the pdf with slides on Wikimedia Commons)

Usability TestingEdit

Contact UsEdit

If you have any questions, feedback, or suggestions for this page, please contact us: ux@wikimedia.de

Related PagesEdit