Are Wikis Usable?

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Are Wikis Usable? is a 2005 conference paper written in English by Alain Désilets, Sébastien Paquet, Norman G. Vinson and published in WikiSym.

[edit] Abstract

Wikis are simple to use, asynchronous, Web-based collaborative hypertext authoring systems which are quickly gaining in popularity. In spite of much anecdotal evidence to the effect that wikis are usable by non technical experts, this has never been studied formally. In this paper, we studied the usability of a wiki through observation and problem-solving interaction with several children who used the tool to collaboratively author hypertext stories over several sessions. The children received a minimal amount of instruction, but were able to ask for help during their work sessions. Despite minimal instruction, 5 out of 6 teams were able to complete their story. Our data indicate that the major usability problems were related to hyperlink management. We report on this and other usability issues, and provide suggestions for improving the usability of wikis. Our analysis and conclusions also apply to hypertext authoring with non wiki-based tools.

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