Movement Strategy/Recommendations/Improve User Experience/ig

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What

We will continually improve the design of our platforms to be inclusive and to enable everyone — irrespective of gender, culture, age, technological background or skills, or physical abilities — to enjoy a positive experience during both consumption and contribution to knowledge throughout the Wikimedia ecosystem.

A brief video recording about this recommendation

Improving the experience of users on our platforms will allow more people to join projects, access information, and contribute. This is a shared responsibility between developers, designers, and communities and requires collective action throughout the Wikimedia ecosystem. Enhancing the experience of users requires following a people-centered approach consisting of a well-defined, iterative and inclusive process of research, proposal, testing, and dissemination of the results.

Changes and Actions

Improve methodology to identify, propose, test, and implement changes on Wikimedia platforms. For this:

  • Involve representatives of designers, technical developers, communities, and user profiles in iterative user experience (UX) design, research and result dissemination processes to raise awareness and enable better decision-making.
  • Test and validate the usability of products with different user profiles (advanced editors, technical contributors, and newcomers reflecting the diversity we aim for).
  • Support compliance with the most advanced accessibility guidelines using free and open-source software (WCAG for web, W3C mobile web best practices, etc.).
  • Inform communities about the state of UX, collaborate on needs, and support them in taking responsibility to be more inclusive by addressing barriers that prevent growth, diversification, and participation.

Create procedures and practices to improve the use of all Wikimedia projects, for those consuming or creating free knowledge, as well as extending functionalities. This requires working on specific characteristics of our products and platforms:

  • Interfaces designed intentionally for a wide range of devices so users can consume and contribute in diverse contexts.
  • Easy-to-find and easy-to-understand resources for newcomers, including onboarding media and guiding interfaces helping them independently learn and navigate.
  • Spaces that allow finding peers with specific interests, roles, and objectives along with communication channels to interact, collaborate and mentor each other.
  • Documentation and standards to capture platform functionalities for evaluation, learning, and improvement.
  • Tools to connect cross-project and cross-language functionalities to provide an enhanced experience of the knowledge contained in the Wikimedia ecosystem for a particular interest, informational need, or inquiry.
  • Clear pathways for advancing new wiki proposals (including new language versions) and for reusing community-developed software features on them.
  • Developer tooling and high-quality documentation to allow technical contributors to create and maintain tools with usability and efficiency.
  • Make the Wikimedia API suite more comprehensive, reliable, secure and fast, in partnership with large scale users where that aligns with our mission and principles, to improve the user experience of both our direct and indirect users, increase the reach and discoverability of our content and the potential for data returns, and improve awareness of and ease of attribution and verifiability for content reusers.

Rationale

People create and consume knowledge with an ever-increasing diversity of devices, interfaces, and interactions (e.g. virtual assistants). Understanding ongoing and future changes and adapting our platforms and spaces to meet diverse user needs will be vital to ensure free knowledge stays relevant on the Internet and for the sustainability of our projects.

Improving user experience can also help grow content, participation, and diversity. We need to encourage new members into our communities, considering that our projects rely on communities whose core editors — both in terms of contribution and functional roles — have not seen a lot of change in composition. This is especially relevant considering existing platforms might be complicated for many newcomers to acquire the technological skills to participate or find resources to guide them. The processes, tools, platforms, and communication channels that have grown around Wikimedia projects have created a steep learning curve for newcomers which some advanced contributors may not be aware of. It is necessary to continually assess user experience and improve ways to identify needs to achieve a more usable product.