Wikis have been very successful for large scale collaborative sites such as Wikipedia. They are also increasingly popular as amedium for small team collaboration. In any highly active wiki that has substantial numbers of pages, it can be quite hard for anyone to keep a sense of where the activity is and who has been most active and when. It is important for team members to coordinate their activities which involves being aware of one another’s actions on the wiki. In order to be aware of their team members actions, users need to constantly update their mental model of the structure of the site which is something that is not very well supported by a traditional wiki.
For conventional web site, the sitemap can be a valuable tool for helping people gain a sense of the structure of the whole web site. At this stage, there is no corresponding tool for wikis. And the dynamics nature of wikis means that a simple sitemap cannot capture the important features of the structure and activity on the wiki.
WikiNavMap is a visualisation which gives a dynamic overview of a wiki structure. Using a colour gradients and the ability for users to customise what is visualised, WikiNavMap allows users to quickly see what has changed in a wiki and who has made those changes. WikiNavMap is a plugin for the advanced wiki and issue tracking system, Trac, and is written in Python using Graphviz for the visualisation elements. AJAX techniques, similar to those used in Google Maps, were used to make it easier to navigate the, potentially very large, visualisations, as well as providing an interface to customise what is displayed.
WikiNavMap has been implemented as a plugin for a widely used open source tool for teams to manage projects. It is available as a track Hack.
WikiNavMap: a visualisation to supplement team-based wikis Inproceedings
CHI '07: CHI '07 extended abstracts on Human factors in computing systems, pp. 2711–2716, ACM Press, San Jose, CA, USA, 2007, ISBN: 978-1-59593-642-4.