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Friday, 26th March 2010

Wikipedia: Numerous "User Experience" Changes Coming in a Few Weeks

A new post on the Wikimedia Blog lists a large number of changes that are coming to Wikipedia. It's quite obvious that the Wikimedia Foundation hope to make Wikipedia easier to use and easier to participate in. It will be interesting to see how long time Wikipedians react to these changes.

All of the changes are part of a lengthy blog post that you can access here.

Here's a Summary:

+ In April, the Wikimedia Foundation is rolling out the first of several significant changes to the user experience of Wikipedia as part of our usability and user experience program.

+ We are changing our default look to a new theme we call “Vector” which makes essential functions easier to find.

+ Editing pages will be easier, thanks to a new editing toolbar that makes it easier to insert links and tables, and a built-in “cheatsheet” to access help for the most commonly used functions.

+ All users will also see that the site layout has changed noticeably. We’ve simplified the site navigation, relocated the search box to satisfy user expectations and to follow other web standards, reduced some of the clutter, and made sure that the new features work with different resolutions, browser formats, and window sizings.

+ Changes begin April 5th on the Wikimedia Commons. If all goes well, Wikipedia (English Language Version) will begin to see changes at the end of the month. Other languages will be updated later.

Over 500,00 testers have been using the new layouts, features, and tools, for the past six months.

On the English Wikipedia specifically, we’re also enabling the creation of PDFs files and printed books from Wikipedia articles to all users (a service previously restricted to logged-in users only). And, we’ll start roll-out of a refined version of the well-known Wikipedia globe logo, correcting small mistakes and representing new languages.

Changes Planned for Later in 2010:

+ Reducing the amount of wiki code users see in the edit system and making it possible to change data in tables and information boxes through simple forms.

+ Cleaning up the edit page itself, to use more understandable language and get rid of confusing clutter.

+ We’re providing a new outline tool to navigate a long article while you’re editing it.

+ Simplifying the search by getting rid of the confusing combination of the “go” and “search” buttons, moving instead towards one search button.

Access the Complete Blog Post

Source: Wikimedia Blog


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