The Wikimedia Foundation, which runs Wikipedia, has announced a visual overhaul for the encyclopedia website, its first in more than a decade. The interface, which had input from worldwide volunteers, aims to make the website look more modern and increase usability. If you use another language version of Wikipedia, you may have already seen the update or you could still be waiting but the English edition now has the new look.
“The Wikipedia desktop update is one of the major improvements the Wikimedia Foundation is making to help people easily access the world’s knowledge, in support of our mission to make sure every person on the planet has free and equitable access to knowledge, regardless of where they live or where they are from,” said Selena Deckelmann, Chief Product and Technology Officer at the Wikimedia Foundation. “The changes make it easier for people to find and learn from the work of our incredible volunteers. These features were created with feedback from readers and volunteers from all over the world, aiming to meet the needs of our increasingly diverse audience, while keeping the simple and straightforward feel that millions of people have come to trust over the last 22 years.”
Some of the things to look out for in the new Wikipedia interface are the search field which has been centralized and moved to the top of the page and the left-hand menu bar which lets you jump to different sub-headers throughout the page. If your browser is too small, the side menu will collapse into a button in the top left of the page which can be expanded with a press.
Another nice design change for multilingual users is the more prominent placement of the language-switching tool so that you can see the topic in other language editions of Wikipedia. Sometimes, topics may have more information in other languages and the more prominent placement of the language switcher should make it quicker to change editions.
If you’ve been on Wikipedia in the last few days there’s a good chance you’ve already had a go with the new interface, if not, load up the English Wikipedia and have a look at the new UI. Hopefully, the changes won’t disrupt your workflow too much!