Wikimedia Foundation Design Research Methods

Review with stakeholders to decide whether to release.

Content Analysis

Collect a set of artefacts created by many users and look for common themes. Create categories for each theme you found, and have two or more researchers sort the artifacts into those categories. Analyze the distribution of artefacts across categories.


Create archetypes of users to inform product development. For each functionality or feature in your product, choose a primary persona to design and build for and secondary persona to represent important users who may be affected (positively or negatively) by the feature.  

Standard Survey

Ask a sample of current or potential users of your product to answer a series of questions to understanding their characteristics, behaviors, experiences, and opinions. Use a mix of fixed response and free response questions to gather both quantitative and qualitative data.

Participatory Design

Engage all stakeholders, especially end-users, as co-designers in every stage of the product design process, from problem definition to impact assessment, to identify needs, explore solutions, and evaluate outcomes.

Heuristic Review

Quickly identify potential usability issues and make UX recommendations by evaluating a design against a set of heuristics or “best practices” gleaned from previous research on similar products. Assess and apply each heuristic recommendation according to its relevance to the goals, needs, and contexts of your target users.