Wikipedia Collaboration Design

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Wikipedia Collaboration Design

Making editing on Wikipedia more collaborative

Wikipedia's design has not changed in the past 10 years. New features like Google Translate have been added over time to help editors contribute to articles, but the biggest feature of the encyclopedia remains to allow editors to collaborate. What changes can be made to improve the way editors collaborate to complete articles, discuss, and resolve issues?

“When I edit something, I am editing, and I know that the next day, the next week, someone will come and better the edit. But it’s not coordinated beforehand, it’s spontaneous. Someone comes; I forgot a comma, I got a word wrong. Someone fixes it. It is a part of collaborative work.”

This project was an extension of a research project I worked on investigating how users of the Spanish Wikipedia collaborate. The original goal of the research project was to write an academic paper afterward.

To read more about the official research project on Wikimedia, click here.

Research Phase

Competitor Analysis

When thinking about how to help users collaborate, I was reminded of Google Doc's comment feature as well as Atlas.ti. This made me think about having users be able to tag sections or sentences for different issues, similar to the templates/banners currently used.

Figure 1. - Example of comments in Google Docs

Figure 2. - Example of coded sentences in Atlas

Figure 3. - Example of adding a code to a sentence in Atlas

I also looked at other online encyclopedias like Scholarpedia and Encyclopedia Britannica, though these were more to see different layouts.

Figure 4. - Scholar Side bar

Contextual Inquiry

Completed Wikipedia training modules to see how edits are completed and to learn about the editing policies. We also read through article talk pages of previous participants for the English edition study.

Literature Review

Focused on reading about previous studies, conducted by the research group lead, concerning multiple language editions of Wikipedia and talk pages to better understand the purpose of talk pages and to see how editors collaborate on other editions. Inital Study on the French Edition. Paper explaining talk pages and power plays on Wikipedia.


Identifying how users on Spanish Wikipedia collaborate with other editors. We did not have a specific demographic, we wanted. Users only needed to be 18 years or older to participate.

Recruited users, by email or personal Wikipedia Talk Page, based on number of edits.

Figure 5. - Ranking of edits for Spanish Wikipedia

Looked through user's conversations on article talk pages to look for interesting conversations with consensus or power plays.

Figure 6. - Article talk page translated with Google Translate. An admin tries to get editors to write about what the person did to earn an award, not just winning the award itself. Names blocked for privacy.


Our goal for the number of participants was 12. We were able to recruit 13 Wikipedia users for the interviews.

Interviews were an hour long and were split into three phases.

Phase One: Phase Two: Phase Three:

After completing the interviews, we corrected transcripts of recordings and went through a qualitative coding and analysis of the results in Google Sheets.

Phase One: Phase Two: Phase Three:

After the qualitative analysis results of the data was over, the team had written a paper and the reseach project was over.

Additional Analysis

User Personas

From the results of the user research, I created 3 user personas.

The Hobbyist The Admin The Specialist
The hobbyist contributes to articles for topics related to their interests. They usually edit in their free time to add their own knowledge or correct mistakes. The admin focuses on resolving issues with users, removing or protecting articles, and marking issues on articles. They are very familiar with rules and policies The specialist occasionally makes text edits to articles but now focuses more on Wikipedia related organizations or making charts and bots.
Pain Points: A lot of articles they view tend to need minimal edits Pain Points: Not enough admins to keep up with all the articles or issues related to edits Pain Points: Difficulty finding specific issues they can help with at times
Wants: Find and edit many articles based on topics related to their interests Wants: Keep articles marked with up to date templates, or tags. Resolving issues easily between users Wants: Edit articles with issues related to specific issues in their area of expertise, no matter the topic

User Testing: Current Selection and Editing Process

While auditing Wikipedia, I found the community portal for certain article issues and also wikiprojects. I felt overwhelmed by everything I found and the navigation, so I wanted to test the current process for finding an article to edit based on a certain issue.

I tested this process with 5 new Wikipedia users. I thought they would be able to give more thoughts on what could be unclear in the navigation.

1 / 4
Help out section of the community portal, accessed by scrolling down.
2 / 4
After clicking more under spelling and grammar, users can select from month-year or all articles.
3 / 4
List of all articles with spelling and grammar issues.
4 / 4
Human-Computer Interaction article. A copy editing template/tag can be seen at the top.

User Flow

The steps a user can take to navigate from the community portal to an individual article.

Pain points

Figure 7. - Banners on the page for the list of articles in need of copy editing

Some articles have templates/tags from three years ago, showing that templates may not be the most effective for raising editing issues. With this last piece of feedback, I also began to think of a tagging/template system again for editing on articles.

My next step was to decide on a solution.

Solution Approach

Initial Ideas

Idea One: Centralized portal for editing, similar to the community portal. The community portal requires a lot of scrolling so I wanted to follow the structure of the editing tutorial dashboards instead. The current editing tutorial mainly had videos though.

Figure 8. - Editing Tutorial page

Second idea: Using a tagging system for different types of edits on articles. The current tagging system for edits is not very helpful since they are mostly technology related.

Figure 9. - Available tags for edits

Initial sketches

Figure 10. - Editing Portal Sketch

The screen on the left represents the top part of the page. I changed the nine issues to cards instead of the nine headers to be more noticeable. I added a section for Wikiprojects to help users find articles related to topics they might like, and possibly joining other editors in a Wikiproject.

Figure 11. - Article Edit Sketch

The second sketch shows an article on the left. There are still important banners at the top, but section headers now have issues marked, like grammar. This is supposed to take up less space and not be as distracting. The other change is to the edit summary. Users can now add tags that apply to the edit they made.

These were the main sketches for the idea I wanted to go with. I focused on similar screens as the ones I had users observe in the usability tests. I created then a low-fidelity prototype.

Low-Fidelity Prototype and User Tests

I created a low-fidelity prototype on Marvel App. I ended up having elements of the editing portal and tagging system. I conducted 5 moderated usability tests on Marvel App as well.

To better assess where users clicked, I gathered some of the heatmaps. Some heatmaps are followed up by the corresponding changes I made to the screen based on verbal feedback and the heatmaps.

1 / 10
The first screen is the dashboard of the editing portal with the issues tab selected. There are tabs on the side to reduce scrolling. Users were able to find the Grammar and Spelling issues quickly.
2 / 10
The list of articles with grammar issues. I removed the banners and added filters for date and topic. When telling users to find the Human-computer interaction article, most wanted to use the search bar to find it.
3 / 10
I added the letter selector back in. It also made more sense to have since users probably won't have a specific article they want to edit beforehand
4 / 10
Here users first needed to filter by tag representing an issue, like a grammar tag. Some users didn't notice it though, instead trying to just find the section with the tag manually.
5 / 10
1st revision was making the edit tab at the top, to allow readers to read and make editing more intentional.
6 / 10
The 2nd revision allowed users to change the editor as well as show available tags.
7 / 10
The tags menu now shows which issues are contained in which sections.
8 / 10
After completing an edit, users can say what type of edits they made by adding a tag.
9 / 10
Users can highlight sentences or sections then apply a tag to them.
10 / 10
The edit summary page now shows tags depending on the issue.


Since I had previously tested a similar task on Wikipedia itself, I compared what the users told me about both.

Cons (that were addressed in revisions): Pros:

After making the revisions I didn't not conduct a second set of usability tests, but I started to prepare a high-fidelity prototype with feedback from the first set in mind.

High-Fidelity Prototype

Mood board

I looked for other ideas on things like dashboards, text editors, and encyclopedias for inspiration. All the designs on the mood board were found on Dribbble.

Design Language

Next, I looked for colors and design elements used on Wikipedia so I could recreate the pages for my prototype.

Final screens
1 / 10
This is the main dashboard for the edit portal, there are tabs on the left to find groups or pages for different interests. This page is mainly to find specific issues to fix.
2 / 10
This page is the list of articles for an issue. I got rid of the banners at the top. I thought it would be best if those only showed up for admins. Users can filter by month-year and topic, as well as sort alphabetically.
3 / 10
Article Page. Editing buttons are not shown on the read tab. This is meant to be more intentional for editors. It is also less distracting for readers.
4 / 10
This is the editing view, specifically the visual editor. All unique issue tags are shown at the top. Here, the grammar and spelling tag is selected, showing only those sections.
5 / 10
Here the user is highlighting a line to add a tag. They can also highlight a heading to mark the section as having an issue. After right-clicking the highlighted the text, a popup asking for a tag and optional name appears
6 / 10
A tag is added on the right side-bar at the same height as where the issue was tagged
7 / 10
A user can hover or click on a tag on the side to highlight the sentences that were marked. Clicking on the specific text or tag on the side will make it show up more clearly.
8 / 10
When the user right clicks a tag, a pop up will appear, asking if the user wants to delete the tag.
9 / 10
Another way to remove tags: Once the user makes an edit, the publish changes button at the top will change to blue.
10 / 10
After clicking publish changes, an edit summary will appear. If they made an edit to a section marked with a tag, it will autofill the tag field and it will ask if the user wants to remove the issue/tag.


This was my first time redesigning for desktop so I got to learn how to efficiently use a lot more space compared to a mobile application.Through this project, I got a lot more experience using both Figma and Marvel App. It made me appreciate Wikipedia's current design more as well since I recreated some of the Wikipedia pages and their existing components. I also learned that it is very important to conduct and understand the in-depth research of your users before truly creating a solution. This is more efficient and provide a better solution for users overall. I would like to see how participants from the research project would feel about the designs though. I tried to take their responses into account along with the newer users I tested the low-fidelity prototype with to create a solution to help users of varying experience. This was a fun project overall and I'm glad I was able to use a previous research project for a design project!

Full Process and Report

Download a pdf report of my entire process by clicking here.