Wikipedia asked us:

How do we develop a cross-platform mobile strategy?

Specifically, their team wanted our help:

  • Observing the role mobile plays in users’ lives, including how they search, read, and consume information
  • Determining the notable behaviors, preferences, barriers, and technologies that affect usage of Wikipedia through mobile devices and apps
  • Uncovering how mobile Wikipedia usage compares to other platforms
  • Identifying the opportunities and threshold for editors’ contributions on the mobile platform

We answered:

The AnswerLab team conducted a multi-week ethnographic field study to observe Wikipedia users across various platforms in their natural environment. Across three metropolitan areas in the U.S., we conducted introductory phone interviews, collected multiple weeks of self-reported feedback on Wikipedia usage through a diary study, and conducted two-hour in-home interviews to dive into the diary findings and go in-depth.


AnswerLab’s research drove decision-making for the Wikipedia mobile strategy by providing platform-specific opportunities across smartphones and tablets, both in browser and on the app.

We advised the Wikimedia team on opportunities to improve readability, search functions, methods of engagement, navigation, and the contribution experience.

Our research report also included:

  • Suggestions on how social media and sharing content could factor into their experience
  • Primary modes and situations in which users engage with the mobile experience
  • Perceived advantages and disadvantages of apps vs. web 
  • Overall primary use cases and habits of participants, as well as unique, less common use cases for consideration 

Want to learn more? Read the full Wikimedia report.

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