Wikimedia Foundation Design Research Methods

Release a user-friendly product that support’s the Foundation’s mission and meets our users’ needs.

A/B Testing

Show different versions of a feature to two different groups of users, and collect data on how each version affects user behavior or satisfaction with the feature. For new products, use A/B tests to compare design alternatives. For existing products, compare a proposed redesign against the current version.


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.  


Deploy in-context question prompts that can be triggered to reveal to a certain number of users performing specific behaviors with your product. Focus on users’ immediate activities or (anticipated) needs: what they are trying to accomplish right now, whether a particular feature meets their needs.


Track usability improvements and regressions over time across multiple products/ versions / releases. Any method that provides quantitative data can be used for benchmarking, as long as the same metrics/questions persist across all tests and all participants have the relevant characteristics in common.