Jump to content

Outreach/Digital Collaboration

From Wikimania 2014 • London, United Kingdom


Wikipedia is more than a repository of information. It's a global conversation made up of text images, data and code.

Design can and should play a big role in improving how we all make use of the Wikimedia Foundation's many projects from Wikidata to Wikivoyage.

Anywhere where a user is unsure what to do, hindered by unnecessary steps or unable to get to and do what they want to is a classic example of a UX in need of work. While Wikimedia is a successful community, we have a lot to learn from UX, UI and online community designers, who in turn should come to Wikimania to see how it's done.

Leading up to and during Wikimania 2014, our goal is raise awareness of ongoing Wikimedia design initiatives, to get designers excited about contributing, and to engage them in making use of Wikimedia data in new powerful ways.

Wikimania Design Outreach Goals

  • Engage a wide audience of designers and developers
  • Expose them to the wealth of resources the Wikimedia Foundation produces (Wikipedia, -Media, -Data, Etc).
  • Inspire them to:
    • Contribute their expertise to improving how wiki's are edited, explored, and understood
    • Use WikiMedia Foundation projects as a core component in their own projects whether that's an act of pure self-expression, a new set of tools, or a new way to look at the world

What types of Designers?

Some of the best designers have a mix of skills, interests, and backgrounds. Some may align to one of these labels, others may bridge them. We want to include an eclectic mix of voices:

  • Graphic Designers
  • Information \ Visualization Designers
  • Instructional \Education Design
  • Motion Design
  • User Experience (UX) \ Interaction Design

Focus Areas

This is a preliminary list of areas we could engage with:

Social\Collaborative Software

Wikimedia is a perfect example of social software. Editors collaborate on articles and projects, developers and community designers work together to make that collaboration as easy and straightforward as possible. As such, the User Interface (UI) needs to rest on strong UX principles and prove itself easy and intuitive to use.


Wikipedia can be used in a myriad of ways on your mobile phone or tablet, from quickly resolving an argument in the pub to uncovering the history of the buildings and monuments around you. Improving and extending Wikipedia's mobile functionality is an interesting and exciting challenge.


The wealth of activity and data across wikimedia is being used a wide range of ways, from creating music (http://listen.hatnote.com/#nowelcomes,en) to teaching computers about language (http://www.lsi.upc.edu/~nlp/wikicorpus/), how, when, and where can you imagine using this resource?

Alternative Democratic Methods / Online Voting

Alternative democracy takes into account various voting and representative systems that differ from the current representative democracy that is the norm in occidental countries. In this there are two main variations, Direct democracy and Liquid democracy.

Direct Democracy implies voting on a decision, or policy by the whole of the population. This is sometimes used in countries that include legislation for making referendums or otherwise popular votes on issues. Examples of this include propositions in some states in the USA, a popular Veto of laws in Switzerland (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voting_in_Switzerland).

Liquid Democracy takes a middle ground between the traditional democracy and absolute direct democracy. Votes can be delegated to people whom you trust, or experts in a particular topic, always allowing the person to “reclaim” their vote if they have differing opinions. It is born out the the reality that few people have enough time to read, and investigate any legislation that requires a vote.

Online voting: One of the challenges of direct, or liquid, democracy is ensuring that a person can vote freely, and at the same time reclaim their vote, or are properly informed in order to vote. This requires the existence of a permanent platform to distribute, and allocate votes, and given the sensitivity of the information being handled making it sufficiently secure so as to avoid invalidating parliamentary work. An initiatives that look to make this a reality:

https://agoravoting.com/ http://liquidfeedback.org/ http://opengovfoundation.org/


We could benefit from reaching out to designers, communities, groups and events to do with UX and online community design. As well as presenting a case for designers and developers to get involved with Wikimedia projects and development, we can gain a better understanding of relevant trends, topics and projects in this space.


Examples of relevant Wikimedia projects

Community Projects

Examples of relevant non-Wikimedia projects

Events (in the UK)





Outreach Resources

There is a facebook group for this outreach here.

Kimi Lawrie (http://www.twitter.com/KimiLawrie) is working on improving this strand in the upcoming weeks. Feel free to join the group, edit this page and get in touch if you would like to contribute.

Victor Szilagyi (http://www.twitter.com/semiot) is also supporting this strand, ping him on twitter or in the facebook group.