Four lessons learned in optimizing a wiki for massive campaigns
I work for Atlassian. We are a for-profit business that produces a number of tools, including Confluence, an enterprise wiki that helps organizations to collaborate. This year, a number of Atlassians decided to volunteer at Earth Hour, a non-profit based in Sydney that is raising the world's awareness of climate change, by reconfiguring the Earth Hour wiki. Out of this work came four lessons that can be generalized for other non-profits that use a wiki to help coordinate massive campaigns like the kind Earth Hour is running (they're aiming to have more than 1 billion people in 1,000 countries shut off their lights for 1 hour on March 28).
BTW, it should be mentioned that Earth Hour uses the wiki to help coordinate hundreds of global volunteers. For example, the Earth Hour global team in Sydney post notices about regional phone link ups on the wiki. Different countries and cities may share news about big wins or challenges that they are facing.
These lessons include:
1. Show users how to jump into a wiki
- Users should have clear starting points on the dashboard for (1) information on starting a local campaign, (2) getting resources for an existing campaign, or (3) how to use a wiki.
- Dedicate a column to news and how to get involved with the wiki.
2. Create intuitive page structures
- Simplify the navigation by subject or department for easy browsing. By contrast, Earth Hour's wiki had become jumbled over time. Information was scattered and it was quite difficult to easily drill down into information. For Earth Hour, the information architecture was reorganized under new headings. Some information was pulled to the top to make it easier to drill down into.
3. Create user guides and faq's for non-technical users
- With a very broad base of volunteers around the world, the wiki needed information to help out new users. Atlassian created a one-page quick start guide with child pages for specific functions in the Earth Hour wiki (e.g. 'How do I find my Country page?'). It was written specifically for their non-technical audience and linked to the Confluence User Guide for advanced users.
4. Create a support system
- Create a page with the most commonly asked questions and responses and allow people to add to it.
We've published a blog on our website along with a video describing the challenges Earth Hour had in setting up and scaling a wiki to meet the demands of coordinating hundreds of volunteers. It's a great story and offers some lessons for other non-profits that are looking to use a wiki to coordinate their efforts.
Oh, and remember to shut off your lights at 8:30pm on March 28!