A designer reenvisions one of the world’s most popular sites with an overdue modern makeover.
Wikipedia hasn’t seen a major redesign or change in 10 years. Perhaps due to institutional legacy, or a perception that ‘if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it,’ but for whatever reason the site looks old.
Berlin-based interactive designer George Kvasnikov has sought to remedy that and bring Wikipedia up to today’s web design standards. Beginning with a research phase focused on user cases of how people use the site and their common problems with it, Kvasnikov then built several wireframes to isolate a new information architecture. He looked at more readable fonts, easier search and simple navigation between articles.
With the ultimate goal of building a more user-friendly Wikipedia, Kvasnikov settled on a grid homepage design that imposes order on the immense amount of knowledge in the site. The grid extends into articles, organizing text, charts, images and videos in a universal way. Articles and sections within them are displayed as pieces of paper that the user can sort and organize as they wish. Integrated text editor functionality makes it easier and slightly more legit for people to copy from Wikipedia, with an automatically-generated bibliography.
Of course, the whole design looks great on mobile. Citing the need for the world’s knowledge to be accessible anywhere, the grid design is used on mobile to aid discovery and hitting random new articles, like an educational StumbleUpon. Their vision would have the new design be a mobile site rather than an app, to ensure that it is platform-independent.
New ideas around Wikipedia’s presentation aren’t new. This concept from February envisions a similar pared-down reading experience for learning with minimal distractions. Hopefully when the Wikimedia Foundation decides to revamp their flagship project they’ll take a good look at these concepts.