web development

Wikipedia to get first redesign in 10 years

Gelo Gonzales

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Wikipedia to get first redesign in 10 years

The "Wikipedia" logo is seen on a tablet screen on December 4, 2012 in Paris. AFP PHOTO / LIONEL BONAVENTURE / AFP PHOTO / LIONEL BONAVENTURE


Every student's favorite site is changing

Wikipedia is getting a redesign, the Wikimedia Foundation announced in a blog post on Wednesday, September 23. This will be the open source information hub’s first substantive redesign in 10 years.

Ten years is a very, very long time in the tech world where platforms are constantly undergoing changes. Perhaps because of Wikipedia’s role as a first stop for information for many people, its function truly trumped fancy design.

But the Wikimedia Foundation, the non-profit organization behind Wikipedia, is now looking to introduce changes to enhance general usability and provide quality-of-life improvements. 

“Over this time, the site has expanded significantly to contain unparalleled amounts of reliable and thorough information, including 53 million articles across over 300 languages. While Wikipedia’s content has grown rapidly, our interface has not kept pace.  We’re proud that our website is more direct, simple, and advertisement-free than the rest of the internet,” Olga Vasileva, a lead product manager at the Wikimedia Foundation, said.

“Yet, the design of desktop Wikipedia and other Wikimedia Foundation projects have not seen any substantive changes for the past 10 years, leaving certain elements of the site’s navigation feeling clunky and overwhelming to readers and editors whose main purpose is to create, learn, and curate content,” Vasileva added.

Some of these changes include a collapsible sidebar to allow users to hide the menu of the left side of the page for less distractions, one-click language switching, and in-site search improvements. 

Changes will be rolled out gradually, with the foundation looking to finish by the end of 2021, in time for the site’s 20th anniversary, Wikimedia said. 

The redesign, the efforts for which began in May 2019, is also focused more on the desktop, according to the current announcement, with no word yet on whether the mobile version will get a revamp as well. 

“In order to welcome them to our projects and entice them to come back, we need to provide not only excellent content and an experience that is engaging and easy to use, but also an experience that is on-par with their perceptions of a modern, trustworthy, and welcoming site. 

At the same time, we wish to keep the core of our identity and evolve in a way such that the final product indisputably looks and feels like a Wikimedia project. We want to create an experience that feels similar to our long-time users, yet straightforward and intuitive for new folks,” Vasileva said. 

Wikimedia also said in its blog post that the announcement is the first in a series about the improvements that they will be doing to the site.

The list of upcoming changes can be found here. – Rappler.com

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Gelo Gonzales

Gelo Gonzales is Rappler’s technology editor. He covers consumer electronics, social media, emerging tech, and video games.