Wikipedia: This new look is our first desktop redesign in 10 years

Wikipedia's design refresh aims to make the site easier to read and less confusing for new users.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer

Wikipedia, the web's 20-year-old crowdsourced encyclopedia, is about to get a new-look desktop interface and its first redesign in a decade. 

Launched in January 2001 by Jimmy Wales and Larry Sanger, Wikipedia has become an essential resource for knowledge about anything that contributors believe is worth documenting. The site is currently home to 53 million articles across over 300 languages. 

The redesign aims to address what the Wikimedia Foundation admits is "clunky" navigation on the site's desktop interface, which makes it difficult for readers and editors to use. 

SEE: Guide to Becoming a Digital Transformation Champion (TechRepublic Premium)

Wikimedia hopes the redesign will attract users who've come to the internet in the past decade without alienating existing users. It also wants to provide a less overwhelming experience and a less confusing side menu. 

Some of the key Wikipedia design changes coming include a reconfigured logo, a collapsible sidebar, a repositioned search widget, a new user menu, and a link to articles in different languages in the title bar. 

To improve page navigation there's also a new table of contents menu that allows users to skip between different aspects of a person's life, subject, thing or event. Wikimedia has published a series of gifs demonstrating the proposed changes

"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," writes Olga Vasileva, lead product manager at the Wikimedia Foundation.

The first change due is the collapsible sidebar, which allows users to focus on content, as well as highlight key functionality such as the edit and history buttons, language switching and search. 

The second change that Wikimedia is planning introduces a maximum line width to make content easier to read. 

The first change to Wikipedia will be the collapsible sidebar, which lets users focus on content and highlight key functionality.

Image: Wikimedia Foundation

Wikimedia is also working on new designs that reconfigure the logo, seen here.

Image: Wikimedia Foundation
Editorial standards