The assumption that Wikipedia website needs a redesign for their readers (a personal project for a product design course).

how i defeated him:
First of all, I asked myself: How can I know that Wikipedia really needs a redesign? 
Since it’s a product with many collaborators, if there was some urgent need of improvement, it would be already fixed a long time ago. Besides that, if you see other success products like you can see that visual design is not exactly a success measure.
Still, there’s always place for improvements if we focus on the right spot. I made a quick discovery process on the portal and decided to work focused on CASUAL READERS: Users that use Wikipedia, but don't contribute with discussion, editing or writing. That’s because:
1. They're the majority of the users;
2. Also, the easiest type of user to find;
3. I identified lots of improvements specifically for them.

With that in mind, I wrote a specific and clear objective to guide me:
“Discover what kind of improvements can be done in Wikipedia to increase the overall experience of the casual readers and design a high fidelity prototype to validate.”

     UnderstandING the user
The next step was to understand this kind of user. To accomplish this, I started a series of surveys/interviews with 20 casual readers to understand their needs, joys and pains.
The script had the following questions:
1. Which situations do you use Wikipedia?
2. How do you enter in Wikipedia?
3. What do you like about Wikipedia?
4. Is there anything that you dislike?
5. Any other comment that you think it would be interesting?
Pretty straightforward and general, each interview followed it’s own organic path.
As a result of the surveys/interviews, I found three types of casual readers:
1. The ones that use Wikipedia for studies;
2. The ones that use Wikipedia to learn (curiosity);
3. The ones that use Wikipedia
for their work;
Based on this perception, the personas were created to materialize these readers.
Besides that, I also discovered:
1. Most people enter in Wikipedia through Google;
2. People tend to like the organisation and quantity of information on the portal;
3. And the topics they dislike are related to trust and legibility.
To improve my research, I decided to interview at least one heavy user. Someone with a different point of view that could help me to see more.
I had the opportunity and pleasure to interview Justin Knapp, the first person to contribute with more than one million edits on Wikipedia. We talked for about 1 hour and he contributed a lot. 

Thank you Justin, you’re an inspiration and an amazing human being!

Some of the insights he gave me:
1. The biggest problem of Wikipedia, for Justin, is the wikipedians/contributors. Even with the purpose of everyone get together and share their knowledge, sometimes the points of view become ego wars, where the winner usually is the one with more free time. 
2. That problem is the biggest barrier for new contributors, since the motivation exists and the technical barriers are not that high. They tend to get discouraged with some attitudes from their “veterans”.
3. One of the big gaps on the platform, in Justin’s opinion, is the media support. Wikipedia only supports image, text, and now, sound. Video and other media would be great for a better experience. It’s something of high value.
4. There are some ways to get page views through data, but nothing really useful to measure impact and value on the articles. Some kind of feedback from the users on each article would be good, even if it’s to change some perspective. It could create more connection between users, articles and writers.
5. Wikipedia is something really close to a success story of what Internet was supposed to be: A democratizing and connecting tool of knowledge.
6. Wikipedia has super interesting sister projects that people should know more about.

With those information, I created the user journey map, based on the personas:
     UnderstandING the actual platform
The next step was to understand the Wikipedia structure, through a sitemap:
With the research, I could finally start to see how to improve the product. I worked on three pages that will guide the rest of the product (at least the parts that impact the casual readers)
Universal Homepage
English Homepage
Article Page
Universal Homepage:
1. The same subject, language, are in different places;
2. The search bar has little highlight;
3. Wikimedia foundation should have a special place with the Wiki Sisters;
4. App existence is hidden;
English Homepage:
1. Overall content are not visually appealing or organized.
2. Too many menus. without a clear hierarchy;
3. Search bar is almost hidden between all the information;
4. Different blocks of non-related information grouped inside the same box color;
5. Advanced information that could be secondary, for more engaged users, with the same highlight of essential information;
6. Text blocks too tight (bad readability);
Article Page:
1. Right at the beginning of the articles, it should appear the article rank, that exits on the "Talk" section;
2. This Summary takes too many space of the page;
3. Text with poor visual hierarchy and bad readability;
4. There are some specific options for the article on the left bar that are not well highlighted or explained;
5. Wikipedia doesn't have gifs, videos and other media 
6. Wikipedia doesn't support feedbacks besides the Talk page, which is a place specific to edition.
     improving the hierarchy
To improve the navigation, I used the Card Sorting method and divided it in two menus to help the users understand what they can do:
Then, I started to draw on paper the wireframes, with all the ideas of improvements:
Universal Homepage
English Homepage
Article Page
Universal Homepage:
1. More highlight at the beginning of the page for the search bar;
2. All languages are now together in just one place, with the main languages always visible;
3. Focus on the Wikipedia Sisters, with a hierarchy where you can understand the relation with Wikipedia Foundation. Besides that, the app won’t appear here, since it’s a bad place for this publicity.
English Homepage:
1. A new main menu, with all the previous options divided in “About”, Content”, “Contributors” and “Keep us Alive”;
2. All the login options are focused on the icon menu;
3. A new specific menu for the actual page that can be hidden;
4. Five different groups of options for this specific menu: 
   a) “Control panel” to navigate between reading, talking and checking sources;
   b) “About” with interactions of this page;
   c) “Export” to download or print;
   d) “This page in other projects”
   e) “This page in other languages”
5. At the beginning of the main page, focus on the search bar, with the featured picture of the day as background;
6. A line with the different sections of Wikipedia;
7. More highlight for the options “Archive” and to receive the articles by email;
8. A more visual news, with pictures, including that on the recent deaths;
9. A timeline for “On this day”, explaining in a visual way what happened that day;
10. “Did you know…” section with cards and a slider to check other hooks to articles;
Article Page:
1. Together with the lateral “Page Menu”, hidden in a standard way, we also got the article menu “Contents”, using the space in a smart way;
2. Some interactions possibilities for the users and writers (that receive feedback);
3. The article classification right at the beginning of the page, with hover explanation and link to understand more about how serious is the reviewing on Wikipedia;
4. Support different types of media (gifs and videos);
5. Some article sections will be automatically hidden in dropdowns, to gain space;
6. “Related articles” section with pictures.
Also, I realized that, for casual readers, a good responsive portal would be much more useful than an app, since the natural flow of searching things involves Google through their browser, and the Wikipedia app would take them out of there, breaking the experience of continuous navigation.
Notice that Wikipedia on mobile is originally limited, already focused on the casual readers. I decided to keep it that way, with little improvements (following the redesign of the desktop version).
Mobile pages:
1. When the user enters in the page through mobile, a modal appears talking about the app;
2. Language choice in the nav bar;
3. The app always appear at the bottom of the page, with the history and footer;
4. Main menu with dropdowns. The content inside this dropdowns needs to be later determined, to limit some features;
5. The article classification right at the beginning of the page, just like in the new desktop article;
6. Further sections beyond introduction will be automatically hidden in dropdowns, to gain space;
With all the data and insights, I created a visual concept for the Wikipedia and started the layout:
Trust and clarity. These are the basic concepts.
Wikipedia is a VETERAN portal, that lived many many things, has many authors, it’s always in our lives with LOTS of content. It’s something big. It’s TRUSTABLE, exactly because there’s so many people helping to build it. It gives us many insights and references for further research. Wikipedia is also MINIMALIST and CLEAR, because the focus is the content. The images, text, information, the knowledge.
Universal Homepage
English Homepage
Article Page
1st Page
Article Menu
+351 938 122 943
Back to Top