Wikipedia has received an interface update that was announced by the Wikimedia Foundation more than two years ago. This is the first update to the “Vector” design in 11 years, and users currently have the option of trying the new interface or sticking with “Vector legacy”.
Wikipedia interface aims to improve readability and page navigation
One of the most obvious changes is the shrinking of the logo at the top of the page. The “Article” and “Talk” tabs have been moved below the article title. In the search bar, users will also see a small image next to the title, which doesn’t seem to be very useful, since not much is distinguishable at that size.
The Wikimedia Foundation that runs the site has unveiled some new features that make the main page more customizable. There is a new design for the table of contents menu, which has been moved to a sidebar that can be shrunk and allows instant scrolling to different sections of an article. This feature is “sticky”, that is, and will stay in place even if you scroll, providing quick access to chapters at any time. When you hide the sidebar you can only see the information in the article on the page, without any other distracting elements.
There are other changes to increase readability on Wikipedia. It now has a smaller width for the area where the article is displayed. Wikimedia says it plans to increase the default font size in the future, but this will depend on user feedback.
Not all pages automatically switched to the new “look”
It is important to note that some Wikipedia pages still use the old Vector format, despite the announced changes. A phased rollout is reportedly planned, to be rolled out across the service over the next few weeks.
Wikipedia is one of the most popular websites on the Internet, with over 58 million articles in several languages. Wikipedia is the 7th most visited page in the world, after Google Search and social media sites such as YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.
The Wikipedia update is an important step to improve the user experience, but it will probably take some time for users to get used to the changes, as happens with every such change online. Certainly, not all users will appreciate the changes, and depending on how they affect user behaviour, some elements will be changed again until they are in a form that is appreciated by as many readers as possible.