Over the years, the internet has experienced a shift in the way content is presented and consumed. Also, the preference for the content format has tilted to 91% of the population choosing visual and interactive content to a traditional text-based format which has caused approximately 65% of people, both young and old, to identify as visual learners. Within Wikimedia projects, photos, audio, and videos improve readers’ experience with Wikipedia and other free knowledge projects. Furthermore, the 2030 movement strategy discussions emphasised “the equitable distribution of knowledge sharing opportunities across Wikimedia Communities across the world”, which inspired the exploration of Wikistories.
Wikistories is a story creation and consumption tool in our projects for editors and readers who want to engage with visual and reliable knowledge in a quick way using mobile devices. This tool is now available in the Indonesian language Wikipedia. In the coming days, Wikimedia Foundation’s Inuka team is collaborating with Wikimedia Indonesia to run a campaign, more like a workshop and a contest where the tool is introduced to newcomers and contributors in different Wikimedia Indonesian communities, and they use it to add visual content. At the same time, the Inuka team learns from their experiences to better observe and evaluate the utilization of the capabilities of the tool, for improvements and further enhancements.
Design exploration and research
The early exploration concept of Wikistories was based on the following assumption:
Suppose a simple, straightforward way is provided for mobile device contributors to create content. This can result in an increase in the diversity of content added, especially for smaller or emerging communities of contributors, whose languages and topics of socio-cultural interest have remained vastly underrepresented on the Wikimedia platform.
The conclusion was to develop a product that will:
- Grow visual content and lead to more contributor & reader engagement with encyclopedic content in emerging digital communities
- Help underserved users to create, curate, contribute and engage with knowledge through visually-driven experiences.
With the above goals in mind, the Wikimedia Foundation commenced Wikistories as an experimental project in July 2021. For the pilot version of the project, the objective is to work with a Wikimedia community that has experience curating image-related projects, a high mobile contribution in an underserved market, and is well organized and willing to collaborate with the WMF Inuka team. Hence, our collaboration with the Wikimedia Indonesian community, from the concept development, the prototype testing, and the Minimum Viable Product (MVP) development to the community-based pilot testing that is ongoing in the Wikimedia Indonesia community, has been valuable for the evolution of the idea. We are also collaborating with three GLAM institutions in Indonesia for another round of campaigns in the coming months.
After early exploration of the Wikistories design concept, and several consultations sessions with individuals and the Wikimedia Indonesian community, the team developed clickable prototypes. Using the prototypes, the team conducted qualitative user research in Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, and with members within the Wikimedia Indonesian community. The research in the African countries focused on potential Wikistories contributors that are content creators and consumers in different spheres, not necessarily in the Wikimedia Movement. The study in Indonesia focused on participants that are content creators in Indonesian Wikipedia, Commons and other Wikimedia projects.
The prototypes tested distinct user behaviours in:
- Using Wikipedia articles to create a story.
- Getting images from Wikimedia Commons to create a story.
- Creating a story using an automated creation flow.
- Combining information from a Wikipedia article and Commons to create a story
The feedback and learnings from design research sessions validated the creation and consumption experience of Wikistories. These helped determine the scope of the minimal viable product for Wikistories, broadly classified into – story creation, discovery and consumption workflows.
From Beta sites to Going Live
The Wikistories team iterated learnings from the research and consultation sessions into the development of the tool as per the scope of this first version. and simultaneously conducted extensive tests on Wikimedia Beta Cluster.
During this period the team continued to engage with Wikimedia Indonesia, GLAM partners, and other individuals to create awareness, and prepare for the planned deployment and pilot testing campaign activities. The team also demonstrated Wikistories at WikiNuSantara 2022 – an event organised by Wikimedia Indonesia in Padang, and received encouraging feedback..
Finally on June 30th, 2022, the very first version of Wikistories with minimal features focused on story creation, discovery and story consumption, was deployed in Bahasa Indonesian Wikipedia, and the pilot testing campaign in Wikimedia Indonesia has commenced. Also, our GLAM partners in Indonesia are set to participate in a Professional Development Event organised to showcase the capabilities of Wikistories for GLAM institutions.
With the above activities and others lined up, the Inuka team will monitor and evaluate the outcomes of this version of Wikistories in line with our goals, improve it, and engage with other Wikimedia communities that want to incorporate this content format in their different projects.
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