New Readers is a cross-collaboration of the Global Reach, Design Research, Reading, Community Engagement and Communications teams. We are working to grow Wikimedia’s reach in countries with low to limited internet connectivity. The Wikimedia Reading team is building mobile features that will save Wikipedia content for offline reading, while the Wikimedia Global Reach team is increasing support to reduce the cost of accessing Wikipedia around the world. Other teams are working on advocacy and local outreach to raise awareness about Wikipedia. As more of the world gains internet access, we intend to ensure that Wikipedia works for them.
New Readers’ efforts are based on addressing three barriers to Wikipedia usage that surfaced through extensive research in 2016:
- awareness of Wikipedia
- access to the internet
- the cost of connectivity.
We know that many people haven’t even heard of Wikipedia, data charges still are a big barrier, and readers sometimes need content to be available offline.
Our programs will be piloted in the countries where we conducted the deepest research in 2016: Mexico, India, and Nigeria. As part of a global movement, we will also support requests from other countries through grants, partnerships, and other collaborations.
New Readers is bringing new people into the Movement who don’t yet have a strong understanding of our projects or our mission. By creating better experiences and access for those potential readers, we enable them to access and engage with free knowledge content. More readers around the world will also mean more contributors, especially among people, languages, and cultures that are underrepresented in the wikis now.
In this coming fiscal year, we will increase the number of individuals coming to Wikipedia (using unique devices in major languages as a proxy) in three target countries. We will do this by raising awareness of Wikipedia’s value, and improving access to the site through offline and cost-reduction support.
Teams: Communications and Community Resources, with significant support from Global Reach and Design Research
- Outcome 1: More people recognize and understand the value of Wikipedia content, so they seek out Wikipedia (either in search results, by coming to our projects, or following a link) when they are looking to learn.
- Outcome 2: More people understand Wikipedia and its value, and become advocates in their communities. To support these community efforts at raising awareness of Wikipedia, we'll make materials, research and lessons from our awareness campaign available for adaptation.
- Outcome 3: The Wikimedia Foundation develops capacities for introducing and promoting Wikimedia projects across distinct regions, working with community members in those regions to design and disseminate materials.
- Objective 1: Coordinated marketing efforts (campaigns) with launch events in target countries/markets that educate potential readers on what Wikipedia is and the value that it offers, developed in partnership with local networks of advocates. The New Readers team pilots awareness-building efforts that consult, collaborate, and train community members on how to continue strategic marketing initiatives.
- Objective 2: Rapid Grants focused on raising awareness through community advocacy. The Community Resources team will work with Communications to develop a Rapid Grant application for awareness-building projects. We will facilitate a training and a check-in meeting for a cohort of grantees to build capacity, gather feedback, and support knowledge sharing between awareness advocates.
- Objective 3: Strategic partnerships in target countries that allow new readers to discover Wikipedia and understand what Wikipedia is, through inclusion in the partners' programs, products, or services and distribution of marketing materials.
- Milestone 1: Phone surveys show growth in awareness after a campaign. This evaluation will be done ad hoc, depending on awareness activities, to evaluate if the campaigns were effective.
- Milestone 2: Unique devices in major languages increase per country. We will also evaluate referrers to understand if traffic patterns are shifting and retention as it becomes available. We will measure and report on these quarterly in target countries.
- Milestone 3: Reusable materials for the value of Wikipedia exist. We will measure the number of people who chose to apply for and work on awareness projects through grants and campaigns to establish a baseline for evaluation going forward.
Teams: Reading and Global Reach, with significant support from Design Research, and Community Resources.
- Outcome 1: More readers with limited internet access (for any reason) access Wikipedia content and are able to learn when not connected to the Internet.
- Outcome 2: The New Readers team has deep understanding of the Offline space and what opportunities are available for Wikimedia content to be impactful. We are moving forward on 1 or more specific institutional use cases in addition to supporting individuals’ needs across platforms.
- Objective 1: Build better interfaces for offline support for individuals who sometimes have internet access across all platforms, working hand in hand with existing solutions (both community and external). In particular:
- extend functionality in Android app
- build initial offline functionality for the mobile web
- Objective 2: Better understand the existing ecosystem of solutions for offline support of Wikimedia content. Assess if it would be useful to partner with existing efforts (such as Kiwix or distributors) and move forward on those that have potential through product, grants, and/or partnerships.
- Objective 3: Conduct Inspire campaign to work with community members to understand use cases and support communities in developing solutions that work locally.
- Milestone 1: Individuals can and do save content for offline on the web, mobile web, and both Android and iOS apps. We will measure usage (using built-in metrics) and user satisfaction (through evaluative design research) of offline capability across platforms.
- Milestone 2: We have identified a strategy for working with institutions and a plan (including goals, objectives, milestones, and measurement) for how to design a project to address that market.
Teams: Global Reach and Reading, with significant support from Communications and Design Research.
- Outcome 1: Users accessing the sites through Wikipedia Zero understand that they are not spending data. We understand Wikipedia Zero program impact, barriers, and value to users.
- Outcome 2: Existing readers access Wikipedia more frequently because their usage is free. New readers start using Wikipedia because they don’t have to worry about high data costs (and are aware of it through work in Segment 1: awareness).
- Outcome 3: Readers spend less data when accessing Wikipedia content. Access to articles is faster and more efficient in size. This allows readers with affordability constraints to browse more freely and learn more from free knowledge content.
- Objective 1: Better support Wikipedia Zero by:
- evaluating effectiveness of program by building tools to gather data and examining those results.
- improving Wikipedia Zero banner UX based on research findings in Nigeria. User experience should be updated, including Foundation’s product design guidelines and improved messaging.
- Objective 2: Develop relationships across for-profit, government, and other sectors to improve affordability of data for end users. Identify new set of partnerships designed to address data costs as a barrier to readers in target countries.
- Objective 3: Building on performance improvements from 2016, reduce the size of loaded content on the mobile web across all browsers, focusing on the needs of users with low connectivity. Assess possible features that could reduce full article loading, and therefore data consumption.
- Objective 4: Evaluate Wikipedia site interface on proxy browsers like UC Browser and Opera Mini. Address major issues and incorporate testing for these browsers in future feature releases.
- Milestone 1: From data gathered from Wikipedia Zero users, deliver a report about program in general and awareness from banner updates. We will also evaluate referrers to understand effectiveness of Wikipedia Zero banner.
- Milestone 2: Deliver a partnerships strategy and evaluation framework for future pilots.
- Milestone 3: Increases in retention (time spent, pageviews) and return visits of readers who are targeted by our efforts. We will measure and report on these quarterly in target countries.