Wikipedia to get a makeover for the first time in a decade

Hemani Sheth Mumbai | Updated on September 24, 2020 Published on September 24, 2020

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Wikimedia Foundation projects have not seen any substantive changes for the past 10 years

Wikipedia’s desktop version will be getting a major makeover in almost a decade, slated to be completed by 2021.

Wikimedia Foundation who owns Wikipedia detailed a multi-year project to redesign the website for desktop.

“While Wikipedia’s content has grown rapidly, our interface has not kept pace,” Olga Vasileva, Lead Product Manager at the Wikimedia Foundation wrote in a blog post.

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“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 wrote.

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“Wikimedia has been working on improving the desktop interface since May 2019 in order to make the site easier to navigate.

Adopter projects

Some of the early adopter projects have already begun to implement certain design changes. Early adopters include Basque Wikipedia, Farsi Wikipedia, French Wikipedia, Hebrew Wikipedia, French Wiktionary, and Portuguese Wikiversity.

Wikipedia design changes would include a reconfigured logo, collapsible sidebar, a revamped table of contents and search improvements among other changes. The design modification and relevant timelines are detailed on MediaWiki.

Users will be able to collapses/uncollapse the left menu on the website (sidebar) to give it a cleaner look. Other early changes include limiting the content width on the site using the max-width function. This is “to get the majority of text on the wikis closer to the recommendation.”

“We began deploying the first iteration in May 2020 to Office Wiki and Test Wiki, and plan to continue to our early adopter wikis in following months,” Wikimedia said.

Apart from this, it will also be building a new search experience with major improvements. It is expected to begin the rollout of these changes in October 2020.

Wikipedia will make it easier to switch languages on the page that a user is reading with an easy one-click button. The redesign includes a revamped table of contents and user menu as well.

“These changes will happen incrementally over a long period of time, to allow for ample user testing and feedback. If all goes to plan, these improvements will be the default on all wikis by the end of 2021, timed with Wikipedia’s 20th birthday celebrations,” said Vasileva.

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Published on September 24, 2020
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