New Readers

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New Readers
Research and findings
  Finding #1: Offline
  Finding #2: Affordability
  Finding #3: Awareness
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The New Readers program focuses on understanding potential Wikimedia readers in countries where access to the internet is quickly growing. It is a collaboration of the Global Reach, Design Research, Reading, Community Engagement and Communications teams at the Wikimedia Foundation.

This hub will collect work from across the teams to better understand and serve potential new readers.

Objectives[edit]

  1. Better understand new internet users in countries with developing internet access, who may have limited to no awareness of Wikimedia sites
  2. Develop user personas that represent common user habits, needs, and behaviors
  3. Assess and develop potential product, partnership, messaging, and community actions to grow reach and participation in Wikimedia projects from research regions
  4. Develop programs across the Foundation to better serve readers and potential readers in these regions based on research findings


Team[edit]

The New Readers project is a cross-team initiative, reflecting shared research priorities of Readership, Strategic Partnerships, Design Research, Communications, and Community Engagement.


Why focus on "developing" countries first?[edit]

Findings gathered during research in Mexico.
See also: Reading/Mexico Readers Research and New Readers/Research and stats

The next billion people are coming online worldwide. Mobile Internet penetration will grow from 28% to 45% in "developing countries" from 2014 to 2020 (GSM Report), which is an increase of 700 million potential readers and editors (1.55 billion now; 2.25 billion in 2020) compared to 600 million total today in highly developed countries.

This shows Wikimedia readership ratios as inverted compared to population; with 78% of our page views are from highly developed countries (as defined by the "global north"[1]), a ratio that has been steady for more than a year.

Wikipedia strives for a neutral point of view, which requires representation of a diverse set of viewpoints coming from editors of many different social and cultural backgrounds. Because of the prevalence of "global north" readers and editors across the wikimedia projects, a systemic bias exists in our content.

WMF has previously focused on developing the Wikimedia movement in the "global south" mainly through access (through Wikipedia Zero) and editing (through grant making). That said, we have a lot to learn about the different constraints and behaviors for people outside of established readers, living in the context of highly developed infrastructures, particularly when it comes to product development.

Through a better understanding of new readers, we will improve the interface of the Wikimedia projects to help readers access our content. With more engaged readers, we hope that editing will also increase and plan to share what we learn along the way with the Editing Team to help build the non-English wikis.


Talk to us[edit]

We want to hear from you! Here's how you can get in touch:

Notes[edit]

  1. "Global north/south" is a less-than-ideal term that has been used across the WMF in the past to describe developing countries. We are moving away from this term, and only include it here to connect previous work to the New Readers initiative.