Wikimedia Conference 2018/Program/39

39. How to use design research to plan your next program or event edit

Length (min)

90 minutes

Audience / Target group

Program coordinators, community organizers, affiliate leaders

Session Format



The Wikimedia Foundation performs research on a regular basis, to understand how editors interact online. Where can you find these resources? How can they help you in designing your next program or event? In this session, we will do a short review of the last design research, New Editor Experiences. We will look at the personas, user journeys, and discuss how this resonates to different community members. We will then work in groups to come up with possible solutions to the pain points identified in different user journeys, and the findings from the report (New Editor Experiences).

Desired Outcome
  • Participants will leave with a clear sense of what user design research is and where to find it.
  • Participants will have a clear idea of how to use research data to frame their new program and event ideas.
Next Steps and Milestones

Wikimedia program coordinators, affiliate organizers, use research more frequently in their proposals.


The plan of the session:

  • What is design research? (5 minutes +QA)
  • The New Editor Experiences research (10 minutes description + QA)
  • Findings: List all and focus on 3 for a short descriptions and discussion (15 minutes)
  • Personas and user journeys (10 minutes)
  • Discussing personas and user journeys (10 minutes)
  • Moving to action: focusing on specific tactics (10 minutes)
  • Exercise: using personas and pathways to design new program and activities (20 minutes)
  • Discussion (5 minutes)
  • Closing: where can I find research? How to stay connected? (5 minutes)

  • Design research is a practice, consisting of many methods, to learn needs, challenges, goals and motivations of people, in order to solve problems, and address opportunities in support of people learned from.
  • Design Research is a collection of methods to understand what people needs, challenges, and motivations of people, in order to solve problems, and address opportunities. The work is done towards some change:
    • In the case of New Editor Experiences research: How to retain new editors in mid-sized Wikipedias?
    • In the case of the New Readers program, the change was: How can we increase readership of Wikipedia in places where it is low?

(The result would be different from the actual situation) (What if in the reserve situation, people are motivated?)

11 Findings from the New Editor Experiences Research.

  1. Characteristics of editors are innately curious, proactive learners. (Motivations / Personas: Reactive Corrector, Audience Builder, Box Checker, Joiner-Inner, Knowledge Sharer, Social Changer)
  2. Wikipedia’s prominence is both its greatest strength and its greatest weakness for attracting new editors.
  3. Inspiring, trusted, and well connected intermediaries are a critical asset in recruiting and supporting new editors.
  4. Many editors see Korean/ Czech Wikipedia as limited, and seamlessly supplement its information with other sources.
  5. The complexity and separation of how Wikipedia is made, and the community behind it, make it difficult to convert readers to editors and new editors into experienced editors.
  6. People must be confident in their content knowledge to edit Wikipedia.
  7. Successful editors tend to build their contribution skills through iterative, progressive learning in safe spaces where the stakes are lower.
  8. New editors’ greatest challenges are not technological, but conceptual. They struggle to learn Wikipedia’s policies and how to shape content ”the Wikipedia way”.
  9. Editing processes, and the mechanisms that support them, are not intuitive or discoverable, making it difficult for new editors to learn and progress.
  10. New editors go outside Wikipedia for help because they prefer targeted and sometimes personal, support.
  11. The way in which a piece of feedback is framed is critical to whether it encourages new editors to continue the Wikipedia journey, or disempowers and discourages them from further contribution.

User personas and journeys: Who are we building for? What is their experience? (focus on one to explain how to read the graphic and the persona, and then mention the rest. Focus on social changer to explain.)

Moving to action: how to think of new ideas - 4 Principles

  1. Appeal to the diverse motivations of new editors, and consider their various skill sets and needs so that Wikimedia can empower and benefit various types of new editors who have the potential to provide valuable contributions to Wikipedia.
  2. Provide just-in-time and digestible guidance that allows new editors to learn progressively as they build their contribution skills and confidence.
  3. Prioritize personalized and approachable communication, that makes it easier for new editors to engage with the collective contribution process.
  4. Make editing more discoverable and intuitive, where new editors can easily accomplish their goals for contributing to Wikipedia and find they help they need to do so.

Goal (the impact we want to have): Attract and retain more new editors in midsize Wikipedias
Strategic focuses (the issues we want to address): Conceptual understanding of Wikipedia, Progressive pathways to editing
Tactics (the solution sets we want to experiment with): In-context help, Human help and mentorship, Task recommendations


  • Found examples of those characters in the community
  • They can see the characteristics in the people
  • They review the chart to find the problems and solutions
  • what causes the issues?
  • the different part, people (patient/passionate) to share the knowledge
  • collect the data (what kind of people come to the community)

What else can we do?

  • successful editors created the safe space
  • forgiving space (to accept mistake, provide help/support)
  • don’t get harassed
  • realises most of the feedbacks are negative
  • Safe space (saved from whom?)