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What should one consider to increase usability in general when launching a wikipedia-esque site?

  • Is there any specific kind of Wikipedia portal that is more user-friendly than others?
  • How should content be organized (both in general and article-wise)?
  • How can one encourage people to participate more actively in e.g. editing article content / creating new articles?
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Take a look at Wikimedia (The wikipedia people) as they provide an infrastructure you can use. Apart from that I can't offer any more except to use wikipedia as a baseline. Wikipedia is pretty all-encompassing and offers all users the ability to add and edit content - is there any reason you can't achieve whatever it is you're trying to achieve using wikipedia itself? –  TJH Aug 29 '12 at 7:34
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This is quite a broad question, I'm not sure that it can be answered with a single post. Is there a specific item about the Wiki site that you want guidance with, or is it just the whole thing? –  JonW Aug 29 '12 at 9:01
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This is a very broad question: I recommend you look at wikipediaredefined.com They take a close look at Wikipedia and how it might be improved, as they think the current Wikipedia really isn't an ideal solution. –  Roland Studer Aug 31 '12 at 13:26
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Yeah, I suggest to split it up into several questions, provide more information: what are the user goals, specific use cases, what kind of users you have, if these user need it for work / freetime... and so on –  Roland Studer Aug 31 '12 at 13:28
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Andiaz I think you misunderstood @THJ, you can run MediaWiki (the code used to run wikipedia) on your own servers. Also, you could take a look at Wiki Matrix to compare the different wikis available. –  Sam Hasler Aug 31 '12 at 14:39

1 Answer 1

up vote 1 down vote accepted

What should one consider to increase usability in general when launching a wikipedia-esque site?

To increase User Experience of any site, wiki or non-wiki, look for theese first two important statements that you have to answer before you start. You might even find that a Wiki isn't the best suited framework for your Site objectives and User needs. What are your site objectives? What are your user needs? Answer these first, before moving forward. User Experience is not related to any framework.

Is there any specific kind of wikipedia portal that is more user-friendly than others?

If your site objectives and user needs tell you a wiki is the best, there are numerous of frameworks to choose from. To make a good choice, answer first if you are going to install and setup this yourselves, administer it yourselves, host it yourselves and backup it yourselves. Do you need guarantee on content? Are loading times an issue? How fast should you be able to recover? Again Site Objectives and User Needs!

How should content be organized (both in general and article-wise)?

This is what Information Architects do. They hold workshops, write mockups and wireframes, if you want to have a thurough and well planned implementation. Advise: hire an Information Architect. Or let the users build their own structure and tags, and have a deicated moderator supervise the Wiki. Both methods work, some better then other. It depends on (you guessed it) user needs.

How can one encourage people to participate more actively in e.g. editing article content / creating new articles?

Launch the new Wiki with a big bang, hold seminars and training sessions and follow up activities. Award the top three contibutors every month with valuable gifts. Let everybody know that a Wiki is collaborative editing, and the only fault you can do is not participate.

Site objectives and User Needs by Jesse James Garrett

Creator: Jesse James Garrett

This is what I would do, how about you? :-)

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Excellent answer, definitely deserves to be accepted. Thanks. :) –  Andreas Johansson Sep 13 '12 at 6:37
    
@Andiaz You're welcome :-) –  Benny MCSA Office365 Sep 13 '12 at 7:11

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