Research:Wikistories Africa Research (Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa)
Currently, there isn’t an easy way to create or curate a visual narrative from Wikimedia content in a short snackable format for mobile devices. The overarching goals of this project were threefold. First, to understand how we might expand the Wikimedia audience, especially in African countries. Secondly, to explore ways of providing more gradual engagement and sparking interest in topics before users access denser, long-form formats. And finally, to identify ways of surfacing quality open content and provide a way for quick consumption from an information source that’s reliable. As part of the project, we also gathered feedback from potential Wikistory creators and consumers from outside the Wikipedia ecosystem on early concepts and designs for WikiStories. We are grateful for the support from Qhala Digital Consultancy to help carry out this project in Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa.
The 2030 Movement Strategy lays emphasis on the need to focus attention on the equitable distribution of knowledge sharing opportunities across Wikimedia Communities around the world. Among the many initiatives, the Inuka Team is working on the Wikistories Project, which is focused on visual representation of content available on Wikimedia sites, and workflows that can serve contribution and discovery towards such content.
Visual and short forms of online content have grown globally in the last decade, with both young and newer internet users being introduced to visually engaging content as their primary internet experience. We assume that given their habits around engaging with quick snackable content on other properties, they may engage with a new content format on the Wikimedia projects, especially Wikipedia, that promotes visual content that meets the Wikimedia values of trustworthiness. If we experiment in a new visual form to engage with knowledge, we can allow underserved users to create and engage with it in patterns they are used to and that work well on mobile as their primary device. Currently, there isn’t an easy way to create or curate a visual narrative from Wikimedia content in a short snackable format for mobile devices.
For this project, we looked at user behaviors in three African countries with distinct user behaviors and context especially relating to Wikimedia:
- South Africa: This is frequently regarded as the most economically advanced country with mobile subscriptions of 168.5% and 64% internet users penetration, and is the largest contributor to Wikipedia content in the continent.
- Nigeria: With a population of 187 Million people, Nigeria has a mobile phone penetration of 90% and over 101 Million people have access to the internet. It is a leading contributor to Wikipedia content.
- Kenya: This is hailed as the Silicon Savannah, a technological leader in the continent, with cheap internet connectivity and a highly educated populace with 108% mobile phone penetration and over 60% internet penetration. Kenya has an active social media and internet usage, however it does not translate into content contribution to Wikipedia, providing a control group for the study, an environment for learning factors that could lead to usage and contribution of content to Wikipedia in new formats.
To read the full results, please refer to one of the following reports: