Wikipedia, the now 20-year-old web encyclopedia, is set to get a new desktop interface and its first redesign in a decade.
Launched in January 2001 by Jimmy Wales and Larry Sanger, Wikipedia has become an essential resource for learning all about what contributors feel is worth documenting. The site currently has 53 million articles in over 300 languages.
Improve user experience
The aim of the redesign is to remedy “awkward navigation”, according to Wikimedia Foundation, on the site’s desktop interface, which makes it difficult for readers and publishers to use.
Wikimedia hopes the new design will attract new readers without alienating existing users. The goal is to offer a less painful user experience, and a less complicated side menu.
Among the main changes to come: a revisited logo, a collapsible sidebar, a repositioning of the search widget, a new user menu and a link to articles from different languages in the title bar.
A redesign completed for the 20th anniversary of Wikipedia
To improve the navigation on the pages, a new menu, such as a table of contents, will allow the reader to switch from one theme to another concerning a personality, a precise subject, an object or even an event. Wikimedia has published a series of gifs illustrating the proposed changes.
“If all goes as planned, these improvements will be applied by default on all wikis by the end of 2021, when Wikipedia will be celebrating its 20e anniversary, ”says Olga Vasileva, product manager at the Wikimedia Foundation.
Wikimedia wants to review its logo. Image: Wikimedia Foundation.
First project: the side bar
The first change that will be integrated will concern the collapsible sidebar, which will allow users to focus on the content, also highlighting key features such as the edit and history buttons, the change of language or even search.
Illustration of the folding sidebar. Image: Wikimedia Foundation.
A layout change will follow: Wikimedia plans to introduce a maximum line width, to make the content easier to read.