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Wikipedia gets the first desktop redesign in 10 years

Wikipedia - Appy Pie

Wikipedia has been an integral part of the web world for about two decades now, allowing users to browse its text-heavy, crowd-sourced encyclopedia entries from their desktop or mobile device.

Now Wikipedia on the desktop is getting an overall makeover for the first time in about 10 years to make the site more accessible for young users.

Wikipedia blog remarks, “Over the last 20 years, the site has expanded expressively to provide unparalleled amounts of reliable information, including 53 million articles across over 300 languages. While Wikipedia’s content has grown rapidly with a whole lot of information, our interface has not kept pace. Anyhow, we are proud that our website is more direct, simple, and advertisement-free than the rest of the internet. However, the design of desktop Wikipedia and other Wikimedia Foundation projects have not seen any substantial changes during the past 10 years, leaving few elements of the site’s navigation clunky and overwhelming to readers and editors whose main purpose is to curate content.”

The blog further read, “The desktop design is highly relevant and important for new users who have maybe just started using the internet for the first time over the last 10 years. To these users, the functionality on the site can feel overwhelming and confusing. To welcome them to our projects and entice them to come back, we need to provide not only excellent content but also an experience that is engaging and easy to use and is on-par with their perceptions of a modern, trustworthy site. However, at the same time, we would like to keep our core identity and evolve in a way that the final product indisputably looks and feels like a Wikimedia project. We at Wikipedia want to create an experience that feels similar to our long-time users, yet straightforward and intuitive for new folks.”

The new features will include a reconfigurable logo to make it smaller on each Wikipedia page, a collapsible sidebar, language switching links, search improvements to the in-site search tool, and a redesigned table of contents for each article.

The collapsible sidebar will permit the users to collapse the menu on the left side of each page. This will minimize distractions, and limit irrelevant content and links on the left of their screen and make it easier to focus for the reader. Wikipedia will now host links to random articles, language switching, and translation. Wikipedia will also add an easy one-click button to the site to switch the language of the user is reading.

Wikimedia Foundation, the site’s parent company, announced in a blog post that the changes will happen incrementally and slowly and steadily over a long period of time, to allow users to test the new features and provide feedback before they officially roll out. It also said that the company plans to redesign the entire look of the desktop version of Wikipedia by the end of 2021. However, the Wikimedia Foundation did not say whether the mobile version would receive the same redesign or not.

If all goes as per the plan, these improvements will be the default on all wikis by the end of 2021, timed with Wikipedia’s 20th birthday celebrations.