What is a wiki?
Here is a simple definition: a wiki is a type of dynamic and collaborative website whose main feature is that each user can edit and manage its content.
Wikis make it easy to navigate from one page to another, thanks to links between pages.
Don't know much about wikis? We break them down for you in this article.
Why are wikis called wikis?
The word “wiki” actually comes from Hawaiian and means “quick” or “fast”. The name was chosen by Howard G. Cunningham, inventor of the very first wiki launched in 1995 (WikiWikiWeb).
He playfully took inspiration from the ‘Wiki Wiki’ shuttle bus he took at the Honolulu airport. This name captures the essence of wikis in the online world as platforms designed for quick and efficient collaboration.
How do wikis work?
Imagine a shared notebook where you and your team can write, draw, and add pictures. You start with a page, and anyone can edit or add things to it. You can create new pages, link them for smooth navigation, and organize info like building blocks.
On the other hand, the revision history keeps track of changes, ensuring transparency and allowing for easy recovery of previous versions.
Private vs. Public Wikis (with examples)
Which type of wiki do you need?
You've been told that creating a wiki could save you time in your work. "Okay, maybe..." you tell yourself.
But hey, you're still new to the world of wikis and you don't even know what kind of wikis exist. No problem, just start by asking yourself the right questions. "What kind of wiki do I need?"
The main difference between public and private wikis is their audience.
Anyone can access and/or edit a public wiki. On the other hand, only authorized users will be able to view and/or edit a private wiki.
A public wiki is like an open book on the internet. It's a website where anyone, and I mean anyone, can read, edit, and contribute content.
A wiki can be aimed at the whole population by sharing generic content. It can also address a smaller group of people, such as a community.
Example of Wikipedia
You're no doubt familiar with the best-known public wiki: Wikipedia. Wikipedia is a vast encyclopedia of knowledge where you and I can perfectly edit quantum physics articles (which is… risky!).
Example of Game of Thrones’s wiki
Communities can meet, exchange and update information on their favorite subjects via wikis. These wikis cover more niche subjects, such as fandoms that cover a fictional universe.
Game of Thrones fans achieved the feat of reconstructing the entire universe of the famous series through the Wiki of Westeros.
Unlike public wikis, private wikis control and restrict the editors and users of their content. Using one allows you to make the content accessible only to people with authorization.
You can also restrict your wiki to yourself. In this case, it's called a personal wiki. It's a way of organizing your personal data, freeing your mind or even writing a diary.
You're probably using one without even knowing it. That’s right, your super Google Sheet for planning your next vacation in Greece can be conceived as a wiki.
Wikis to collaborate with your team
A wiki is great for one person, but it's even better when several people collaborate on it. Typically, a private wiki is used to exchange information and collaborate with a team. You can then choose which users are authorized to view or edit content, and start working with them.
Now you're beginning to realize that a wiki could be a revolutionary tool in the corporate world... You bet! I have so much to tell you about corporate wikis that I'm going to devote an entire section to it.
Companies use corporate wikis to share data and collaborate within the workplace. They are designed for organizations to create, edit, and share information among team members.
You can either use it exclusively within your team, or integrate your external collaborators.
You can make certain data accessible to all users, while restricting others to a certain category of user. This way, your external contributors (contractors, freelancers) won’t have access to all your sensitive data if you don’t want to.
Let me give you a few examples of corporate wikis.
Notion is a text-based wiki for all your business needs. It's a central workspace that makes the most of AI to help your teams create, organize, and share various types of content.
Notion's flexibility and customizable features make it a powerful platform for all corporate uses. All your departments will benefit from it: HR, sales, product development, marketing etc.
Bonus for Claap users: Notion perfectly integrates Claap.
Slite has been designed for all types of knowledge. As with Notion, your company may well use Slite for all its needs.
Its user-friendly interface and real-time collaboration features enhance your team productivity.
Developed by Atlassian, Confluence supports team collaboration, document management, and knowledge sharing. It's known for its integrations with other Atlassian products. Confluence positions itself as an essential tool for remote workers.
Why use wikis in the workplace?
Now, we know what wikis are, how they work and we even have studied a few examples. Next step: let’s understand why and how to use them at work.
A way of collaborating
In the workplace, wikis offer a central hub for teams to work together. There are three things you can do on a wiki:
- Add content. You will then share information to your team or external users;
- Edit content. Wikis promote interactivity: you can comment and edit content previously added. With Claap, you can annotate videos directly to give precise feedback;
- Consult content. The content you’ll have access to will depend on the permission you have been given.
What kind of data can you store on it?
Project documentation, recording of your meetings, training materials, company policies, brainstorming sessions or meeting minutes. And when it comes to organizing your video content, you know you can count on Claap, an all-in-one video workspace.
Benefits of wikis for the company
- Cultivate a culture of collaboration within the company. Wikis break down silos: all teams exchange information in the same place;
- Improve knowledge management;
- Cut unnecessary meetings. Let’s focus on adding value to your business rather than on process meetings;
- Save time. According to a McKinsey study, executives spend 19% of their time searching for and gathering information. Yet digging through emails and files is not your core business. Wikis will leave you free to concentrate on producing value;
- Support scalability. As your company grows, wikis grow with you. By the way, fast-growing unicorn Revolut had no problem trusting Claap with its video wiki;
- Save money. With all that I've just said, you now understand that the productivity/price ratio of a wiki sounds more than interesting. Try for free here.
Use-cases for wikis at work [Team wikis examples]
Wikis can help your business on many levels. They can be useful for company-wide use and also make life easier for your various teams/departments.
Sharing information [Company-wide]
The main use of a wiki is to share information with your collaborators, whether internal or external. All your information is in one place. Hyperlinks make it easy to navigate between pages.
Knowledge management [Company-wide]
Wikis can be used as knowledge management tools to keep a record of your activity. With wikis, you can easily trace your previous projects to capitalize on them.
The wiki centralizes all your (past and present) working documents in the same place. Then, you can navigate easily from one document to another.
Team Directory [Company-wide]
Is your team growing? Good, that means your business is doing well. On the other hand, with new arrivals and departures for new adventures, you're having trouble remembering all the names.
Wikis are a great way to produce a cool Team Directory that lets you know who's who. Team Directories can be better with video presentations, don't you think? Claap gives you the means to organize a fun team directory using videos.
Documenting company’s processes [Marketing, IT, Developers…]
“Where is the graphic charter? I've been looking for it for 20 minutes!” We've all heard it before (and not necessarily in such polite terms)… Wikis are a way to compile all your visual identity elements. Your marketing team can't wait for it.
Wikis make your processes easier by putting all the answers to your employees' technical questions in one place. The IT department will no longer have to answer the same questions all day long thanks to the wiki.
Your software developers are developing a new product? A wiki could be useful to keep track of their progress. Plus, it's a great way to share tips and best coding practices. It ensures that these best practices are readily accessible to all team members.
Project Collaboration [All departments]
You've probably already drowned in a poorly organized project. Wikis are the solution to get your head above water. You and your team can share resources, edit project plans, timelines, and documents together. No more confusion over multiple document versions.
You know how onboarding newbies can be a hassle sometimes? Wikis make it easy to welcome your new employees and take the anxiety out of onboarding meetings. All the info new hires need is right there, in the wiki, so they can get up to speed in no time.
Training materials, videos, and FAQs are all a wiki away. The wiki will enhance your employees' training experience. Here are just a few of the advantages of using a wiki for your next training sessions:
- Available for learners to refer to at any time;
- Individualization of the path;
- Training can be carried out asynchronously.
What is a video wiki? (with examples)
Video wikis decoded
Got what a wiki is now? Great. Now let me introduce you to video wikis.
Video wikis, like Claap, are wikis where users create, edit, and share information using video content instead of traditional text.
A video wiki allows you to:
- Gather all your video content in one place and organize it into teams and channels (think Youtube);
- Turn videos into engaging content with auto-chapters, AI-powered summaries and video annotations;
- Surface important information through search or automated push to where your teams' preferred platforms (Slack, Notion, project management software, CRM, ...)
The example of Claap
1 minute to discover Claap's all-in-one video workspace and its main features:
- Record your screen
- Record your meetings
- Organize your video wiki
Use-cases for video wikis at work
I've already talked about traditional wikis’ use-cases at work. Let's take a closer look at video wiki use-cases.
- Training. Instead of having your employees read dozens of documents, why not offer a series of short videos for your training courses? Take training to the next level by offering your training courses asynchronously with Claap. Don't waste another minute: record your best training videos and integrate them into your wiki;
- Onboarding. Create video tutorials for new hires, allowing them to quickly grasp company processes and tools. As with training, the video format is more interactive and capitalizes on the advantages of asynchronous communication.
Video wikis consolidate your team knowledge by centralizing valuable tutorials and video resources you may have.
- Reduce meetings. Video wikis enable teams to store asynchronous communication in video format, reducing the need for meetings;
- Enhance collaboration by engaging your team members. Video wikis may include project tutorials, best practices, and problem-solving guides. Additionally, videos can be used to seek feedback and input from the team at every stage of the project.
- Compile all your demo videos in one place;
- Make your design review more interactive;
- Get precise and visual feedback from all teams at each step of product design.
- Consolidate all sales knowledge. Video wikis store recordings and detailed notes about existing and previous deals. This information will help you sign your next prospect;
- Organize personalized multimedia content. You produce personalized content for each of your customers and you don't want to get tangled up? Leave it to a video wiki.
How to create a wiki?
You don't even need to know how to code to create a wiki, isn't that great?
Step 1: Define your needs
It's crucial to thoroughly identify your organization's requirements before launching a wiki. Here are some essential questions to ask yourself and their non exhaustive answers:
Who do you want to share the wiki with?
- Team only;
What will be your main activities or processes that the wiki will support?
- Company guidelines and policies;
- Share best practices;
- Business playbook;
- IT FAQs.
What kind of data do you want to share?
- Text only;
- Video content;
- Recording of meetings;
- Product demo;
Keeping these objectives in mind will help you to stay on track and create the most effective wiki possible for your teams.
Also, be sure to gather any existing information you want to integrate into the wiki as soon as it's created.
Step 2: Pick the right tool
You have to select the appropriate wiki platform depending on your specific needs.
If you're looking to leverage your video content with a wiki, I can't recommend Claap enough. I may be a little biased, but if you've read this far, you then have understood that Claap is a must-have for multimedia content.
For more traditional content, here is a non-exhaustive list of wikis you can use:
- Notion: super-customizable wiki and free for individual use;
- Slite: a wiki originally designed for remote teams and user-friendly;
- Confluence: designed for large enterprises;
- MediaWiki: a widely used open-source wiki software;
- Zoho Wiki: a cost-effective solution tailored for business use;
- Slab: a wiki with an intuitive interface designed for enhanced knowledge management;
- You Need A Wiki: a straightforward wiki platform catering to Google Docs users;
- GitBook: wiki specially crafted to meet the needs of developers.
Step 3: Organize the structure of your content
You have to create a logical structure for your wiki with categories, pages, and links.
I suggest you first create the "trunk" of your wiki: the basic structure. Next, you'll be thinking about expanding the "branches" of your wiki.
To do this, I recommend that you first make a list of the subjects your wiki will cover. For example: product demo, customer feedback, user interview, sales process, meeting notes, prospect list…
When you have this list, you group the subjects by category. From the previous list we could have "Product" and "Sales". These broad categories will form the “trunk” of your wiki. Then you add the branches, building up your tree structure as you go along, with the teams dedicated to the subject.
Tips: Don’t forget to add tags to each of your topics to make them easier to find in search and internal links.
Step 4: Set permissions, security protocols and general guidelines for users
To ensure the security of your wiki at all levels, you need to make sure of 3 things:
- Protect access to your data. Your data is precious. You have to clearly define who can access, edit and manage content. You can add a dedicated workspace for each topic or each team, depending on your organization. Then, the different workspaces have their own privacy settings;
- Implement security protocols. I recommend that you work hand in hand with your IT department to ensure that your wiki complies with your company's policies;
- Define community guidelines. Allowing anyone to edit data is both an advantage and a disadvantage of wikis. If no one follows rules for modifying content, your wiki can quickly become total chaos. To prevent these problems, define rules for collaboration on the wiki: How does one go about editing posts created by others? Do we need to warn others when we delete content?
Step 5: Organize a kick-off for your teams
You're right to be proud of having brought the wiki into the firm. Organizing a kick-off meeting is an opportunity to share your enthusiasm with your teams. You can explain to them how the wiki is going to revolutionize the way you work.
We know that adopting a new tool isn't easy, and you're bound to have a few clarifications to make during the meeting:
- Show the benefits of a wiki;
- Explain how it works (internal links, accessibility settings, modification rules…);
- Show the main features with a demo;
- Explain the basic architecture of the wiki;
- Encourage questions.
A final hint: be enthusiastic and convinced. It won't be difficult for your teams to master the tool - the real challenge is psychological commitment.
Step 6: Start adding content
That's it, you're launching your wiki. You have to provide your structure with content.
- You'll need to integrate the existing content identified in step 1 into the wiki;
- You'll want to bring together the key contributors in your teams to add other essential content. Don't choose too many key contributors, or it'll get messy. Simply identify the “knowledge champions” in each of the categories. They could be founders, long-term employees or department heads for example.
- It might be a good idea to run a survey in your company to ask your employees what content they would like to see appear on the wiki.
Step 7: Invite your collaborators to join
Now, you know what content to include in the wiki. All that's left is to appoint people to be responsible for adding/editing/managing content. Let's get to work!
Even more than traditional wikis, video wiki are infinite sources of value for your company. Don't wait any longer to capitalize on your multimedia content with Claap.