Improving the usability of wikis: Case IT product team of Company X

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School of Economics | Master's thesis
Information Systems Science
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ABSTRACT AALTO UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF ECONOMICS Information and Service Management Master’s thesis Antti Karhu Improving the usability of wikis Purpose of the study This thesis seeks to increase understanding of wiki usability problems and to find possible ways to improve the usability of wikis. The effect that usability improvements have on wiki use will be evaluated in an empirical study using a theoretical framework formed during in this thesis. In addition, a better understanding of the wiki way of working will be sought. Methodology: A literature review of relevant research will be done. The focus is on findings regarding the technical properties of wikis, wiki implementation issues and use of wikis in organizations as well as findings about wiki usability issues and ways to improve usability of wikis. Based on the findings of the literature review, two new theoretical frameworks will be built. To test the validity of the frameworks, empirical research is conducted at a case company. In the empirical part, the Action Design Research Methodology is utilized. Usability of a wiki used by the case company is evaluated and improvements to found problems are implemented. The effect of the implemented improvements on wiki use at the case company is then observed for five months by following statistics of wiki use and interviewing the users of the wiki. Findings The technical properties of wikis that are essential to the wiki way of working were found, and understanding of wiki usability issues was increased. Two frameworks were formed based on research findings of the study. In the frameworks it was proposed that the continued use of a wiki with low usability leads to lost productivity. It was also proposed that by improving the usability of a wiki, it is possible to get more users to embrace the wiki way of working, leading to increased productivity. The validity of the proposals was tested in the case company. The proposals were found to be true. It was shown that it is possible to increase people’s willingness to contribute to a wiki by improving its usability. This was also shown to lead to increased productivity compared to the situation before the introduction of the improvements. It was also found that templates and user interface improvements are good methods to increase usability and they do not disrupt the wiki way of working. They methods can also be applied to other information systems.
Wikit, Wikis, web 2.0, enterprise 2.0, taggaus, tagging, kollaboraatio, collaboration, yhdessä tekeminen, co-creation, user experience, käyttökokemus, action design research, usability, käytettävyys