WIGI Update: Results from Usability Testing

By max, Sun 06 December 2015, in category Hacking

Since the beta version of  wigi.wmflabs.org, our site dedicated to the biography gender gap on WIkipedia is progressing on the technical side, we decided  conducting usability study on to help improve interaction aspects. We conducted a usability study to find out more. It was fantastic to here people say ”this is the tool we've been waiting for," and we also want to address issues that lead people to describe their experience as "burdensome".  Thanks to Masssly for compiling the report. I repost his summary here, and the full report can be read on wikimedia commons:

Executive Summary

During the week of November 17 - December 1, 2015, WIGI was tested among participants pulled from the Wikimedia community, loosely described as anyone who edits Wikipedia-the-encyclopedia, or is a potential reader of any of its language versions. The study was carried out via separate video calls with each participant. Nine (9) participants in all took part in the study.
The main objective was to get feedback from the Wikimedia community about how the WIGI presents data, how it demonstrates what can be done with the data and how it makes open data-sets available for download. The study assessed participants’ perception of the content along with their understanding of the user interface and went ahead to evaluate the study participants’ reading enjoyment and overall user experience.

In general, 67% of participants found the website web site to be uncluttered, straightforward and tidy. Whereas
60% of the participants held that it was fun and easy to use, others thought that they spend too much time trying
to figure it out; one respondent described their experience as “burdensome”. All Five (5) participants who were video interviewed indicated that WIGI will help them further explore the gender gap in Wikipedia biographies. In their delight, one participant said that “I [now] have a deeper understanding of of the diversity and will make strong
arguments backed by statistics”. Another participant stated that ”this is the tool we've been waiting for."

Key problems identified in the study include:
• Difficulty to distinguish between Recent Changes and All Time displays
• Inflexible Recent Changes
• Lack of connection between between variables on the different pages
• Confusion over interpretation of charts
• Difficulty to gauge extent of measure (eg. percentages without figures, and vice versa)
• Use of presumptuous language and maths symbols
• Lack of data probing questions
Read the full report for more detail, get back to us on twitter, or email, if you have any more feedback.