Extending our user experience effort

Our very positive revenue perspective (we have already exceeded our fundraising targets for the fiscal year, and received a very generous $2M grant from Google) allows us to do something we’ve hoped to be able to do: make our investment in user experience (see original press release) permanent.
It makes obvious sense for any major website to have a permanent team focused on user experience improvements in the broadest sense. This includes eliminating obvious barriers to entry, but beyond that, we want to improve the experience as a whole for both readers and editors.
We’re now referring to this work as “user experience” (UX) work, which includes usability.
Naoko Komura will be Head of UX Programs, while Trevor Parscal will be the lead front-end developer on the team. Congratulations to both of them. 🙂 Naoko is currently assessing the remaining contracts and will share further information as these decisions are finalized.
In the immediate future post-April, we’ll be concerned with tying up loose ends from the usability initiative, and finishing functionality that we had to put in the parking lot. We’ll work on a roadmap and staffing plan for 2010-11 and beyond as part of our business planning process.
Our long-term focus will be determined in significant part based on the recommendations from the strategic planning process; see especially the community health recommendations.
While we haven’t finalized priorities, the single biggest piece of work is likely going to be the transition to a rich-text editor as the default editing environment for all Wikimedia Foundation wikis, particularly Wikipedia. But, user experience to us also means assessing how people self-organize and communicate in Wikimedia projects, how they get stuff done, and how they read and navigate our projects. Even among the areas of work we’ve already identified, there’s enough to keep us busy for many years. 🙂
Please note that the original usability initiative hasn’t concluded yet. The team is working on its final release, which will include some of the most-anticipated changes, including collapsing of templates to simplify the editing interface, and the production release of the new feature-set to all users. As always, we’ll continue to communicate progress through this blog and the tech blog, and feedback and participation is welcome at http://usability.wikimedia.org/.
Erik Moeller
Deputy Director, Wikimedia Foundation

Archive notice: This is an archived post from blog.wikimedia.org, which operated under different editorial and content guidelines than Diff.

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This is great news for the Wikimedia community, and users of MediaWiki everywhere! It will pay off for years to come. Congrats to Naoko and her team, and great decision to the WMF staff.

Great news! This is important core work, especially towards the Wikimedia Foundation’s objective to encourage participation by new editors of all technical abilities, and to make the site more user and reader friendly in general. The team has done an amazing job to-date with usability work and the new beta, all the while working in a uniquely collaborative and open source environment. The usability groundwork to-date (which is the foundation for up-and-coming UX and usability work) was made possible by the support of the Stanton Foundation. Thank you, Stanton Foundation.

Fantastic news – congratulations to Naoko and Trevor! I’m looking forward to lots of improvements to MediaWiki usability over the coming years.

“[…] there’s enough to keep us busy for many years. :-)”
I personally think usability work is among the *most important* work the Foundation can do beyond keeping the servers running and the software up-to-date. Here’s to another few years of awesome “UX” improvements. 🙂

Congratulations! It’s great news for the foundation, for the Wikipedia community, and for the future of free information on the web.
Micah

Hi Erik
I realise this isn’t the place, perhaps not even the project.. but I wanted to give a shout out to the Mobile Wikipedia project (Love it!) and hope to see it extended across all the other Wikimedia projects soon 🙂

Hi Leigh,
thanks for the shout out! Mobile development is one of our strategic priorities, so expect more interesting things coming down the pipeline. 🙂

Thank you for your kind words, pfctdayelise, Mike and Micah. I am grateful for the opportunity to continue working with the Wikimedia community to improve the usability and expand our work into broader user experience work. I want to echo Sara and express our gratitude to Stanton Foundation for their generous gift which made the usability ground work possible.

[…] dans les mains. Ce groupe de travail, initialement prĂ©vu pour une durĂ©e fixe, a rĂ©cemment Ă©tĂ© rendu permanent, grĂące au trĂšs bons rĂ©sultats de la derniĂšre levĂ©e de fond  et au 2 millions de dollars […]

[…] dans les mains. Ce groupe de travail, initialement prĂ©vu pour une durĂ©e fixe, a rĂ©cemment Ă©tĂ© rendu permanent, grĂące au trĂšs bons rĂ©sultats de la derniĂšre levĂ©e de fond  et au 2 millions de dollars […]

[…] dans les mains. Ce groupe de travail, initialement prĂ©vu pour une durĂ©e fixe, a rĂ©cemment Ă©tĂ© rendu permanent, grĂące au trĂšs bons rĂ©sultats de la derniĂšre levĂ©e de fond  et au 2 millions de dollars […]