Wikipedia for desktop gets its first user interface redesign in a decade

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Wikipedia has announced a redesign of the desktop interface. The update is the first major redesign to Wikipedia’s desktop interface in more than 10 years. The update comes as the nonprofit online encyclopedia celebrates the 22nd anniversary of the English-language Wikipedia. The redesign introduces a more user-friendly and intuitive reading experience for all desktop users. It also adds a new permanent table of contents menu, which tells users which section they’re currently reading, while remaining visible as they scroll down the page to make navigating to different sections easier.

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According to a press release announcing the desktop interface redesign, Wikipedia desktop users will be introduced to an improved search experience that allows users to use images and descriptions to find articles in the free online encyclopedia, which the organization says will lead to an increase in 30 percent in user searches (according to user testing).

The redesign also places language switching tools in a more prominent and easily accessible place in the user interface, allowing users to switch between more than 300 supported languages.

Article headings on the newly introduced Wikipedia desktop interface now follow a sticky header format that moves with the user as they scroll down or up in an article. This, the organization claims, reduced scrolling speed by more than 15 percent during user testing.

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The table of contents, which allows quick navigation between article subheadings and topics, now remains accessible on the left side of the user screen, making article navigation easier and faster.

The organization also confirmed that the latest redesign doesn’t remove any previous functionality and only introduces a simpler, smoother experience for readers. The nonprofit noted that it has been working with 30 different volunteer groups from around the world, including from India, Indonesia, Ghana and Argentina, to conceptualize and update the desktop interface improvements, the first major redesign introduced by Wikipedia in over 10 years.

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Wikipedia confirmed in its press release that the redesign has already been rolled out to 94 percent of Wikipedia’s 318 active language versions for all desktop users.


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