- Wikipedia got its first desktop interface update in over a decade that includes improved search.
- The Wikimedia Foundation said the update was designed to make it easier for everyone to use.
- The update rolled out on January 18, and is live on 94% of active language versions of Wikipedia.
Wikipedia looks … different!
The popular website’s desktop interface has been updated for the first time in over a decade.
The Wikimedia Foundation said the update was “built in collaboration with Wikipedia volunteers worldwide,” to make the website “more welcoming” and “easier to use for everyone.” The updated interface, which includes a table of contents on the left side of the Wikipedia page and a relocated search bar at the top, “modernizes the Wikipedia experience,” the nonprofit said in a press release.
Here’s how the old Wikipedia page for Taylor Swift looked:
Screenshot of old version of Taylor Swift’s Wikipedia page.
And here’s how Taylor Swift’s page looks like in the new redesign:
Screenshot of Taylor Swift’s redesigned Wikipedia page including a search bar at the top and a table of contents on the left side.
It’s not a jarring difference, but you’ll probably notice a lot more white — the gray background elements and shading are largely gone.
New features in the update include an “improved search experience” that uses images and descriptions to make finding articles easier. Testing showed the update lead to 30% more user searches, Wikimedia Foundation said. Commonly used links, like Search and Sections, move as users who are logged in scroll through the page, making it easier for writers and editors to focus, Wikimedia Foundation said. Tests showed the update reduces scrolling fatigue by cutting scroll rates by over 15%.
For multilingual writers and editors, language-switching tools are “more prominently-placed,” making switching between Wikipedia’s over 300 languages faster.
English Wikipedia, which turned 22 years old on January 15, saw the update roll out on January 18. The Wikimedia Foundation said 94% of Wikipedia’s active language versions have been updated as well.
Over 30 different volunteer groups around the globe worked with Wikimedia Foundation on developing and testing the new interface. The nonprofit used global research and feedback from Wikipedia users as well.
Since April 2022, the amount of internet users around the world is over five billion, around 63% of the global population, according to Statista. Wikimedia Foundation said the interface update “was designed to meet the needs of this next generation of internet users,” including people with less experience using the internet, “to find knowledge that is trustworthy and reliable.”
Wikimedia Foundation said Wikipedia’s previous functions are still available.