The Wikimedia Foundation’s Partnerships & Global Reach team and Reboot (our partner research firm) has conducted and summarized in-person interviews with 57 individuals over 10 days in Indonesia.
Please note that these are only preliminary findings; a full report will be shared with the community by the end of June 2017. Here were some of the initial findings that emerged from the study:
Participants were balanced across gender, age, employment, and educational background, and also included people who didn’t use the internet. Interviews were also conducted with 5 key informants, including representatives from local NGOs. Each interview was 60-minutes; the first 40 minutes were spent understanding life in general for participants digging into how they learn, with an emphasis on understanding information-seeking patterns and usage of mobile phones and the internet. Remaining time was spent digging into participant awareness of Wikipedia. Respondents were then profiled based on their responses regarding access to and awareness of Wikipedia. Most respondents fell into the categories of “low access, low awareness” and “high access, high awareness.”
== Initial findings ==
- “High access, high awareness” respondents
- Primary participants in this group include professionals, university and high school students. High school students clearly use for school assignments.
- The core feature of Wikipedia (that anyone can edit) is seen as a weakness (even though it could also be considered a strength). Students report that teachers discourage them from using Wikipedia because you can’t trust content.
- No other typical “high access, high awareness” user profiles found in this participant group.
- Lack of consistent pattern on Wikipedia user experience
- Respondents appreciated content from English Wikipedia but wondered why it has so much to read with just plain black and white text. Others complained that there was too little text in some topics.
- Respondents wondered if there was a way to present the text in a more digestible way, like how they get information from other websites.
- Potential solution: Intelligent and adaptive user interface design could solve these problems.
- Wikipedia doesn’t communicate its values or the way it operates
- Respondents didn’t realize that Wikipedia was non-profit, and assume it’s like Google or Facebook.
- Respondents wondered why “staff” were not listed or hidden on the website (without realizing editors are volunteers). Respondents liked the transparency from companies like Google, which has staff shown on their website. They are distrustful of information that’s cited without identifying the author.
- Without educating about mission, feature of open-editing is actually seen as a bug.
- Potential solution: Creating visual cues like photos and blue tick marks for editors similar to Facebook/Twitter that indicate a verified status.
- Low brand recognition for Wikipedia
- There is low brand recognition of Wikipedia but most other entities also have low awareness of their brand among the public. Exceptions are for Google and social media sites: WhatsApp, YouTube, Line (app similar to WhatsApp), Friendster (precursor to Facebook). Everyone has Instagram and most read news through Instagram.
- Wikipedia should take active role in spreading true knowledge
- One lead from an NGO focused on women’s health thought that, today, Wikipedia’s approach in spreading free knowledge is too passive. He wanted Wikipedia to reach out more actively and meet people where they are.
- Respondents are very social users, and like to gather in groups in cafes. Primary means of identifying fake news is to ask friends or people they know.
- Open knowledge can be seen as a challenge to authority. Professors or others in power are more comfortable with knowledge from peers and books.
- People are looking for contextual information (e.g. about places they are visiting). Wikivoyage provides travel information but people don’t know about it.
- Wikimedia has to present itself as a suite of projects (e.g. Google is also known for Gmail, Maps, etc.) and to better highlight sister projects.
- Wikipedia may consider positioning itself as a place for learning gaps (e.g. Wikiversity). People are just going to YouTube for tutorials. Most of what an encyclopedia provides is deficient for what the case use is in Indonesia.