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. Wikistories introduces a way of creating visual narratives from Wikipedia and Commons content in a short snackable format on mobile devices. The MVP of this product was released to the Indonesian Wikipedia in July 2022 as a beta feature. This survey project gathered structured feedback from Indonesian Wikipedia editors who were early creators of Wikistories.
The Wikimedia Foundation’s Inuka Team in collaboration with Wikimedia Indonesia organized a series of workshops and trainings for Wikistories. As part of these workshops, participants received some preliminary information and instructions about Wikistories in the form of a presentation accompanied by a Wikistories Tutorial Slidedeck. The information included background context, directions for how to activate the beta feature, and an overview of how to create stories.
These workshops took place in-person in five Indonesian cities (Yogyakarta, Bandung, Padang, Jakarta, and Denpasar) between July and October of 2022. This survey project gathered structured feedback from Indonesian Wikipedia editors who attended these workshops, all of whom were early creators of Wikistories.
This report presents results from responses received at 4 of the 5 events (Bandung, Padang, Jakarta, and Denpasar). A different survey was used for the first event in Yogyakarta, with results reported in the workshop report. While the focus here will be on results from respondents at the 4 later events, when possible results will be compared with those from participants at the Yogyakarta event to provide as complete a picture as possible.
Highlights of Results
For the full report of results and recommendations, please refer to the complete Wikistories Early Adopters Survey Feedback - Final Report.
To summarize some of the main findings, there were three main themes around what respondents enjoyed most about Wikistories. These were general ease and simplicity, the use of images and attractive appearance of the format, and a positive impact on the reader experience.
At the same time, there were some mixed results around general ease of use, with respondents rating the story creation process as everything from difficult to easy. The three main reasons observed for what made Wikistories difficult to use were as follows. First, there were limited image editing options. Secondly, finding images was difficult. And, lastly, the process was confusing, and some of this confusion could be contributed to the fact that Wikistories are still a beta feature and require manual activation.
Some of the reasons given for why Wikistories were difficult to create overlap to some degree with respondents' answers to the open-ended question about what they enjoyed least. Three themes were related to limited features, ease of access, and image quality. One central open question is whether Wikistories should contain references/footnotes, an essential feature of Wikipedia articles. Respondents were split roughly 50/50 as for whether Wikistories should contain references/footnotes. As noted, newer editors (less than 3 years experience editing Indonesian Wikipedia) were more likely to respond that ‘yes’ stories should contain references than more experienced editors (3+ years experience editing).
As for improvements respondents would like to see made to Wikistories, they clustered around three main categories. Although presented here in order, they roughly received the same level of interest. First, respondents expressed the desire to have more image editing options and upload their own images. Secondly, they mentioned more text editing options and video content options. Finally, they requested an easier process and easier way of finding images.
Finally, because we know that cross-platform sharing is a potential consideration with Wikistories, we learned from respondents that their top three platforms for sharing content are Instagram, Twitter, and Whatsapp. A number of options presented as choices received few to no selections.
The following recommendations are made based on the feedback received as part of this survey.
- Improve and prioritize development of image editing options. For example, zooming in/out, adjusting the position, improving the quality, and changing the position of the text relative to the image.
- Include references/footnotes as a feature of Wikistories. Although respondents didn’t universally want this, at least half or more believe it is important.
- Provide the option to upload new images when creating a Wikistory. Lack of image options and image quality was a topic that emerged in responses to multiple survey questions.
- Find ways to improve the process of finding and selecting images. Help creators connect with and use high quality images in their stories.
- Prioritize the ‘out of beta’ discussion in the community. At least part of the difficulty of using Wikistories was related to it being a beta feature for creators and/or consumers.
- Gather feedback from the community around administrative burdens that may accompany Wikistories. It would be beneficial to proactively address both real and perceived administrative tasks that may accompany stories.
- Improve and prioritize development of more text editing options. For example, style options and changing the position of text relative to images.
- Help Wikistory creators see the impact of their work on readers. One of the aspects of stories that creators enjoyed most was their potential for positive impact on readers. Helping them see readership and receive reader feedback (whether on or off Wikipedia) may validate their assumptions and provide motivation.
- Provide easy share options, especially for Instagram, Twitter, and Whatsapp users since these were the three most common platforms used for sharing informational content by the Indonesian Wikipedia editors surveyed.
- Continue to improve both feature depth and breadth until greater parity is achieved with similar features on other platforms. Given Wikistories' similar format, these other platform features will continue to drive expectations, and therefore satisfaction, for/with Wikistories.