Client:OWASP Foundation
Date:November 08, 2015

OWASP Foundation MediaWiki

Information architecture, user research, MediaWiki template design, internationalization, training.

I am developing an incremental plan to re-architect the OWASP Foundation’s ten-year-old MediaWiki presence. The wiki, which has several thousand international users of which over 120 are currently active, is the primary platform for project and chapter information and archives.


The OWASP Foundation member participants are an international group of information security professionals developing open source projects to promote the mission to make application security visible. The organization’s 260+ chapters and 150+ projects rely on the wiki as an archive of its events, projects and activities. In its ten years of existence, the wiki has grown to be somewhat unmanageable for new and old users alike.

Method: I began by working with the Wiki Editing Team, a formal initiative of the organization that is responsible for tagging and cleaning pages and categories. I surveyed the number and types of pages on the wiki and determined who the most active editors are. I interviewed these users about their experiences and difficulties and walked through a number of usability exercises.

Findings: While the projects teams already had an organized structure for displaying information (tabbed format, roadmap, github code repository, etc), the chapters did not. Chapter and project leaders alike had some difficulty navigating funding information and procedures for hosting local and regional events. I also reviewed the Branding guidelines and made recommendations for improvements.

Results: I developed a workshop for chapter leaders to streamline their content and branding. Some suggestions included integrating a tabbed format that lists current mission and contact information, upcoming and past events, leader details and contact information and sponsor promotions, and aligning branding on the wiki pages with external media including Twitter, Facebook and conference media. I also streamlined resource information in the Chapter page, Chapter Leader Handbook and Funding page. Additional incremental changes continue, aligned with strategic priorities.

Future: Revisioning the OWASP online presence will be a strategic goal for 2016. I am in the process of soliciting an RFQ for a front-end redesign of the company level information, such as mission, history, and governance documents, as well as how to join a project, how and why to become a paid member, how and why to become a sponsor or academic supporter, etc. The project will also include ideas for incorporating MediaWiki functionalities that are currently underutilized.