Wikimedia sites get a new look on tablets


 
Tablet users, rejoice! The Wikimedia Mobile Web team has been working to optimize the mobile view of all our projects, so that reading, browsing, and editing content are all easier on mobile touch screens of any size. Now our changes are finally live on tablets, too!

Why a new tablet view?

Wikipedia and its sister sites were designed long before the rapid growth of smartphones and tablets. For the past two years, we’ve worked to improve the reading and editing experience for smartphone users, and now we’ve turned our attention to tablets. If you’ve used Wikipedia on your phone, you may recognize similarities in the new tablet view. But we’ve also departed from the smartphone experience in some ways, in order to create a tablet-specific experience.

Just the features you need, designed the way you need them

  • Typography and layout. We’ve increased the font size and narrowed the width of the content area to improve readability. These changes are responsive, too, so it looks great whether you’re on a tablet, a phablet – or even the mobile site on your desktop computer.
  • Table of contents and sections. Get to the section you need quicker, but don’t be afraid to lose yourself in the content once you’re there. We’ve taken advantage of the larger screen space that tablets provide and kept article sections open to encourage long-form reading.
  • Last modified byline. Wikipedia is never finished. Getting more readers to see that our content is constantly growing and evolving is a big priority for us. Now you can see at a glance which articles have been edited recently, and which could use some love from contributors like you…
  • Editing. See a typo? Fix it! Simple formatting options and mobile-friendly linking to pages or references are coming soon for all tablet users, and starting this Thursday you can get a preview of this functionality now by opting into our experimental beta site (look for Settings in the site menu and tap to turn on Beta).
  • Other features. The contribution features you know and love, optimized for tablets: uploads, watchlist, page history, notifications, and more.

Your tablet, your choice

If you don’t want to leave the old desktop experience, fear not. You can switch between the desktop view and mobile view from any page by scrolling to the bottom and tapping the “Desktop” or “Mobile” links.

How can I give feedback?

We’re excited to hear from you about these changes! Leave us a comment here and let us know what you think.
Maryana Pinchuk, Product Manager, Mobile

Archive notice: This is an archived post from blog.wikimedia.org, and as such was written under a different editorial standard than Diff.

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I dont like this design as a everyday user of an ipad prefer the old one (computer one)

Where is the Talk section. While I am not a contributor , I rely on viewing the comments under talk to get a sense of controversy or differences regarding content. I am very unhappy to not have this feature available.

It was fine as it was. Where’s ‘it happened today’?

I love it, great ideas and functionality! Thanks for always improving.

Don’t like it. How do I go back to using desktop version. Mobile version sites are limited

This is TERRIBLE for those of us who use the iPad instead of a desktop or laptop. THUMBS DOWN! Can I opt-in to use the old version?

HORRIBLE! Wiki for kiddies. Leave it as it was…

Looks/works great on my Galaxy 3 tab! 5 stars!

I really don’t like this new look, is there any way I can get the old one back? It’s really annoying me.

The desktop version is accessible by a link at the bottom of each page. Perhaps this post was updated after those comments were made?
The Talk page is still accessible. I got to it by turning on the Beta version (menu, settings).

Seconding Carol here. Would be nice to have the Talk and History sections easily accessable on this design. Makes it easier for me to check the reliability of the articles. Otherwise the design’s pretty good, but there’s nothing that makes me really want to use it over the desktop version.

First of all, I am not an iPad user…. I have a Nexus 7; that being said (typed), I am running into a similar problem as the users of said tablets: text is far too large, everything seems too simplified, etc.

Huh, I submitted a change on a talk page, using my iPad with the previous style view, and it redrew using the new tablet-needed version. Guess I caught it right as the new code paged in. Tablets are generally designed to cope just fine with desktop versions of websites, so I’m not sure this was needed.
Regardless, you’re going to get a lot of complaints if the tablet version offers ANY less functionality than the desktop version, and doesn’t include a clear “switch to desktop” button at the bottom of the page (like many other sites have).

The page above says, “We’ve increased the font size and narrowed the width of the content area to improve readability.” Which sort of sounds nice, but can be read as “we’ve decided you shouldn’t be able to see as much content at once. Working on a tablet that was designed to cope with the web as it already was, it’s quite easy for me to zoom in to focus in a certain part of a page or make text bigger – it’s harder to undo damage done by well-meaning sites that are “just trying to help”. (Reminds me of a… Read more »

This is very very bad! Absolutely horrible! I’m begging you to please return to the old format. Please. This is not an improvement it’s the opposite. It was much easier to read the other way. I love wikipedia and I hate seeing it like this.

On Talk pages (I’m looking at the one for the Swift programming language), the boilerplate generated by all the “this article is part of XYZ group” tags is all expanded out, so instead of a small block of 5 or 6 lines, I’ve got five and a half SCREENS full of “helpful” boilerplate to scroll past, before reaching the actual content of the page. That does feel a little “dumbed down”, as if tablet users are expected to not know how to expand those sections (if they want), the way that desktop users can.

Nwe=Bad Old=Good The font is HUGH. Waaayyy too big. I used to be able to scan the entire page….. news, anniversaries, “did you know” and recent deaths. Also the way pics are displayed is bad. They used to be nice and crip. Now sometimes they are still fuzzy even when you for them to finaly load completly.

Hi Clare,
You can return to the desktop view by scrolling to the bottom of any page and clicking the “Desktop” link. This will keep you in the desktop view.

Speaking of which, “narrowed the width of the content area” – why on earth would you do that? A tablet screen is generally book-page sized and readable right up to the edge, and has less display area that can be used, making every pixel more valuable – why waste ANY of it? The tablet screen already has nice physical margins on the sides (the border around the screen itself), why make a second, “fake” margin inside that? It may make the page you’ve generated look pretty, taken in and of itself, but end users will never see it that way,… Read more »

You can access talk pages by opting into the beta version of the site (in the top left navigation menu, go to Settings and opt into the Beta). We’ll be working to improve this functionality before we roll it out to all our users.

Thanks, Muddville Music 🙂

Thanks, Austin Wallace! We’ll keep adding features and working to make the site better 🙂

Oh, I also suggest putting a “switch to desktop” button on the top of the page, since scrolling to the bottom of the page takes more effort on tablets than desktops. (swiping up a lot versus pressing the “end” button, holding “pg down/space”, dragging the scroll bar, all that jazz) Also, the pictures are fuzzy on my ipad gen 2 Safari, not sure which side this problem is on. Also, thanks Maryana for the Talk page tip! But why is that beta only? For everything else, I think Carl nailed the problems with the design, so I’m not gonna repeat… Read more »

I actually really like the new design, I’ve always had trouble with the desktop version whenever I access them with ipad. It’s kinda hard to scroll, zoom and move the page left and right, not to mention if I want to highlight an entire passage but have to do a lot of manoeuvring firsthand, it’s kinda hard for me and my impaired fingers. This way I just have to swipe down and the fonts are big and easy in the eye. I like this kiddie style, it’s cool. Another point is, it seems to be faster to load which is… Read more »

I like the large font, but a serious problem is that you cannot select and copy part of the text in iPad. Another downside could be the omission of other languages’ sidebar.

My 9 yo son, an avid reader with low vision, immediately noticed that his iPad pinch-zoom couldn’t zoom in as much and have it stick – the maximum sticky font size is too small for him to read comfortably (he zooms to a comfortable font and deals with horizontal scrolling after that). The desktop version retains the old behavior. I don’t have comments about the various characteristics aside from this, but is there a reason that the maximum zoom size is smaller now? It inhibits use by those with low vision that use the iPad as their exclusive accessible device… Read more »

If i want to use the old site i have turn on Java script and cookies so you can invade my privacy? Goodbye Wikipedia!

NO YOU CAN’T switch to the desktop version. Not unless you have cookies and java script turned on. Those of us who are already angry at the lack privacy laws protecting us on the internet will be saying, “bu-bye” to Wiki, i guess!

I found “other languages” button on the bottom of the web page. My only problem with tablet version is that we cannot select, copy, or define words(By the way I am talking about iPad version).

I don’t like the new look at all. It isn’t a question of aesthetics, but information, which is what Wikipedia is about. I got far more information on my iPad with the old look which I was perfectly happy with, and which would sometimes lead me to look at things I never would have thought of investigating otherwise. I’m a contributor who thought it was great as it was. It now looks childish.

I hate this. I use Wikipedia a *lot* and this ruins it for me. I have quit using other sites that force me into using their mobile versions. Why would you do this? It is a solution in search of a problem. I want to permanently opt out, not scroll to the bottomof a page every time I use the site. Really bad news, so depressing.

Hi Tim,
Tapping on the “Desktop” just link once should keep you in the desktop view from then on, until you choose to switch back by tapping on the “Mobile” link.

I hate it! I hate ALL “tablet” or “mobile” versions of websites. I don’t see why websites can’t just be the same no matter what sort of computing device you’re using. There was absolutely nothing wrong with how wikipedia was before! Ughhh.. please at least make the normal wikipedia the default, then have this stupid tablet version available as an alternate option if people really want it to be available, but the normal wikipedia should really be the default… I can’t say it enough: there was absolutely nothing wrong with how wikipedia was before! (I also can’t stand this new… Read more »

Not exactly a brilliant design, I like the tablet and desktop being the same, so I can navigate easily and quickly on both.

I don’t like it. Why changed? It was fine before. Must change when no one is complained?

Please go back to original format.

Thank you

I really don’t care for this: I prefer the desktop view. I know a lot of effort probably went into this, butI really don’t like it. Thank you for leaving the link to toggle to desktop view. As long as this choice persists once selected, there shouldn’t be a problem: people can just go with whichever view they prefer. (It’s going to suck if I have to select the desktop link again every time I visit Wikipedia)

Absolutely horrible. Wikipedia succcumbing to the “mobile fad”. These crude “mobile designs” should all go away and die, instead of annyoing us. There should be an easy switch so I never have to see this monstrosity again on any of my iPads, and that includes iPad mini. If by “Tablet users, rejoice!” you meant to make a sarcastic joke, you certainly succeeded.

Maryana- Thank you! The larger font is a huge improvement for those of us over 40 or with weak eyesight. It should actually be even larger for comfortable reading, but at least this change ameliorates the biggest problem that I have had using Wikipedia. (I am concerned, though, that while it’s okay on my old full-size iPad, when I get an iPad Mini then it may it may hurt my eyes as much as the old font did.) The best solution would certainly be to allow users to adjust the font size. This seems common on commercial websites. Is it… Read more »

The new tablet experience looks great on the ipad! Great job by the team!

Who needs a “tablet” edition when you have an iPad? Who? The regular Wikipedia all works fine on an iPad without this ridiculous cut-down version with its overly large font. Wrong way, go back! This should not be the default on the iPad!

I agree with many of the others who have commented. Both the font size and the margins are too large, too much white space around heads and subheads, too much whitespace in general. It is a step in the right direction as a cleaner and less cluttered interface. I use both an iPad and a Surface Pro for my tablets and this new look needs a little work to be truly useable on a tablet.

Tablet users, rebel! The Wikimedia Mobile Web team has been working to patronise your mobile view of all their projects, so that reading, browsing, and editing content will give you the experience of using a library jumbo print book aimed at the elderly and terminally myopic. Now the changes are finally live on tablets, too! Wikipedia are obviously using a different definition of the word ‘improved’ than I’m used to. Switching to the far better classic view is a faff, requiring the user to scroll to the bottom of the page, click ‘desktop’ and then scroll back to the top… Read more »

Wow, big change! It was a shock at first when I reloaded an already open page and found big font and lots of white space. I had no idea what was going on. I’ve just now been comparing and playing with both the new tablet style and the old desktop version. I like them both for different reasons, it’s great to have both options depending on how we’re using Wikipedia at the time. It’s also fantastic that I can switch between the two styles so easily just by scrolling to the bottom of the page. Love your work!

The tablet format is easy to use and has more great features than I have ever had. The font size is perfect for reading on my 7 inch tablet and adjusted flawlessly when to ‘portrait’ and ‘landscape’ on my tablet. This is a nice improvement.

I highly agree with your opinion.

The tablet view is cleaner looking, to be sure, at the expense of actual usability.  Poor execution on tablet release. Please allow a setting to choose desktop as the default view.  Allowing browsers to retain this setting would be optimal. And please add buttons for choosing Desktop and for adjusting screen font size.  Allowing browsers to retain this setting as on the desktop version would be excellent also.  The phone version has long been a bane to my existence.  It is much more difficult to use than the desktop version was and I expect similar problems will exist with the… Read more »

Hi Ayurveda Dharma,thank you for your comments. Just be aware that the tablet view for this blog (diff.wikimedia.org) hasn’t changed – it uses a completely different software (WordPress) than Wikipedia and the other Wikimedia sites, which are based on the MediaWiki software. We may improve the mobile view for the blog soon too, but that is an entirely separate project.

Not much of fan either for most of the reasons others have stated before me. If you are kind enough to still give us the choice of desktop, wouldn’t it make sense to have that choice at the top of the page so one doesn’t have to scroll. Some articles are pretty long

No!!! Give me back the original! And STOP trying to “improve”!