Submissions/Fun user experience is srs bznss, and so can you

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This is an accepted submission for Wikimania 2013.

Presentation Media

Submission no.
Subject no.
Title of the submission

Fun user experience is SRS BZNSS, and so can you

Lab Cat
Type of submission

Presentation and discussion

Author of the submission

Siko Bouterse, with Heather Walls and Jake Orlowitz (Ocaasi)

Country of origin

United States


Some of us work at the Wikimedia Foundation.

E-mail address


m:User:Sbouterse (WMF)/w:User:Seeeko, w:User:Heatherawalls, w:User:Ocaasi

Personal homepage or blog

Building an online encyclopedia is a serious activity. But that doesn't mean that it can't also be fun. By designing fun into the user experience of our on-wiki projects and creating space for play and creativity, we can engage volunteers to complete serious activities, and to keep coming back to contribute more often. This talk will use examples from projects like the Wikipedia Teahouse, WMF's Individual Engagement Grants program, and The Wikipedia Adventure to discuss how we can make volunteering more fun while also accomplishing serious work.

Detailed proposal

Building an online encyclopedia to share the sum of all human knowledge is a serious activity. But, that doesn't mean that it can't also be fun. By designing fun into the user experience of our on-wiki projects and creating space for play and creativity, we can engage volunteers to complete serious activities, and to keep coming back to contribute more often.

Fun, in the on-wiki context, can involve things like:

  • the use of playful visual design and imagery - creating pages that make our wikis feel interesting and engaging
  • the use of acknowledgment and positive recognition - creation actions that make our users feel appreciated
  • the use of game mechanics - creating activities that make our users feel they are working towards new skills and knowledge with a sense of accomplishment

In this talk, we'll begin by showing a few examples of how we've done this in some of our own recent projects:

  • Wikipedia Teahouse is a space on English Wikipedia where we focus on giving new editors a friendly community experience. A warm greeting from real people, use of welcoming visual design, and fun badges to acknowledge even small contributions are all ways that fun user experience in the Teahouse enhances the serious business of encyclopedia-building on English Wikipedia.
  • WMF's Individual Engagement Grants program supports individuals to complete 6-month projects that improve some aspect of Wikimedia. Applying for a grant can be a confusing or nerve-wracking experience, and grantmaking - a process by which we decide how donations should be used to support the movement - is a serious responsibility. Our grantmaking IdeaLab has a LOL-cat science theme that encourages participants to meet each other and share ideas, helping tap into the creativity of the community to support an outcome of serious grant proposals for projects to have impact on Wikimedia's community and websites.
  • The Wikipedia Adventure is a game we're building to teach new editors how to edit English Wikipedia. The project's motto is "Wikipedia is not a game, but learning it should still be fun." By experimenting with playful text and visual design and the use of game-mechanics, we're learning how to encourage new editors to make positive contributions to the community and the encyclopedia.

This presentation will leave plenty of time for Q&A and discussion with the audience, because we don't just want to talk, we also want to listen. Come tell us about your experiences on-wiki! What have you done to create a fun user experience for your project, and how has that impacted your ability to get serious things done?

  • WikiCulture and Community
Length of presentation/talk

25 minutes should be enough :-)

Language of presentation/talk


Will you attend Wikimania if your submission is not accepted?


Slides or further information (optional)

Fun is srs bznss.pdf

Special requests

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  1. Not sure the current title will speak to an international audience. Otherwise, looks interesting. Daniel Mietchen (talk) 22:07, 22 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    1. I've been wondering same! Heather argues that LOLCAT speak is more global than we think these days. We're somewhat using this title to test that idea. Good to hear feedback, thanks :-) Sbouterse (talk) 17:27, 30 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The proof that making things fun can be harder than you think ;) Heatherawalls (talk) 19:02, 6 May 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  1. CT Cooper · talk 23:37, 28 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  2. DarTar (talk) 22:13, 29 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  3. Blue Rasberry (talk) 23:45, 29 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  4. Risker (talk) 03:30, 1 May 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  5. Superm401 - Talk 18:52, 2 May 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  6. KLove (WMF) (talk) 22:38, 2 May 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  7. No fun allowed. SarahStierch (talk) 15:25, 3 May 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  8. Micru (talk) 19:11, 4 May 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  9. Graham87 (talk) 12:21, 5 May 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  10. Superbellymonster (talk) 03:06, 8 May 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  11. Atropine (talk) 13:56, 10 May 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  12. Ovedc (talk) 09:11, 28 May 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  13. Teemeah (talk) 10:15, 20 July 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  14. Denis Barthel (WMDE) (talk)
  15. Adamw (talk) 00:18, 8 August 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]