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After an eternity, Wikipedia is finally getting a redesign

Is nothing sacred?

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Image: Wikipedia

Wikipedia is the best place to spend an afternoon clicking through random links, but it really hasn’t changed much for years. That’s about to change, as the Wikimedia Foundation has said it is about to start making some gradual changes to the site, to make it more intuitive to use.

That’s probably a good thing, since web design has moved a huge distance since Wikipedia last changed the layout in 2010. Wikipedia even acknowledges this, saying “the expectations of readers and editors, have evolved.” That’s a nice way of leaving out “…, we didn’t,” and probably why I don’t write many press releases.

To start with, those changes will be minor, making Wiki browsing easier for the reader. That will include features like a way to collapse the annoying sidebar, sticky site and article headers so you don’t have to scroll back to navigate around, and one that’s already in place in some wikis, a limiting of content width to make it easier for reading.

If you hate the tweaks, you’ll be able to change back to the old view, but you’ll have to be logged in to Wikipedia to do so. That means no more lurking, so if you prefer to lurk, get used to the new design.

At least the Wikimedia Foundation isn’t springing the new redesign on all users, all at once, like some websites prefer to do. Wikipedia will be incrementally making the changes, while taking feedback along the way. Styling templates, the overall structure of pages, navigation items, and other features are all staying the same, so the goal isn’t to overhaul the entire site, but to make it more user-friendly with the help of web technologies that were developed in the time between the last changes and now.

The Foundation is aiming for the end of 2021 to transition the desktop version of all Wikipedia sites to the new changes, with no set timeline for each individual feature.

What do you think? Are you excited for a refresh on Wikipedia? Let us know down below in the comments or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

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