Opening the door to a new look: improving Wikipedia.org

Photo by H. Zell, CC BY-SA 3.0.
Photo by H. Zell, CC BY-SA 3.0.

Everyone who uses the Wikipedia.org portal is familiar with the look of the page: a beautiful puzzle globe encircled by the top ten viewed languages; a long list with Wikipedias in hundreds of languages that can all be read and explored; the search box that can make queries in nearly any language; and a compilation of related Wikimedia projects.
Over the last eight months, the Wikimedia Foundation’s Portal team, part of the Discovery department, has been busy improving the discoverability of information within the portal to make it more contemporary and easier to use.

Screenshot, CC BY-SA 3.0
Screenshot, CC BY-SA 3.0

To start, we’ve updated the search box. When you are entering a query, you will now see images and metadata that correspond to your search, and you’re also free change the search language without leaving the page.
We’ve also optimized the portal site, making it load faster by utilizing smaller sized images and streamlining the page code.

Screenshot, CC BY-SA 3.0.
Screenshot, CC BY-SA 3.0.

A fairly inconspicuous change to the page will immediately detect your browser’s preferred (or default) language and rearrange the top ten links to display those languages first, along with the remaining top ten viewed wiki’s by language, around the globe.
In this example, The Free Encyclopedia is displayed in Portuguese, since it is the browser’s first preferred language and English is the second.

Screenshot, CCBY-SA 3.0.
Screenshot, CC BY-SA 3.0.

We’ve also added sister project descriptions, located in the page’s footer, which will hopefully spark curiosity as to what a person might find when they visit those individual projects.

Screenshot, CC BY-SA 3.0.
Screenshot, CC BY-SA 3.0.

The look and feel of the long list of every available language wiki (sorted by article count) has been modernized and placed inside an elegant drop down. This new feature makes finding your language wiki a bit easier on the eyes as well as providing easy access on any device.

Screenshot, CC BY-SA 3.0.
Screenshot, CC BY-SA 3.0.

We hope you enjoy using the new portal page! You can view a short video that shows some of these new features.
And, if you don’t quite remember what the old Wikipedia portal site looked like before we made any changes, here’s a reminder.
Deborah Tankersley, Product Manager, Discovery
Wikimedia Foundation
 

Archive notice: This is an archived post from blog.wikimedia.org, which operated under different editorial and content guidelines than Diff.

6 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Do dropdowns make navigation more difficult for visitors using screen readers?

[…] Fuente | Wikimedia.org […]

[…] Fuente | Wikimedia.org […]

I just used “read in your language”, and selected “Swedish”. Instead of seeing the same page, but in Swedish, with Swedish descriptions of Wikidata and Wikibooks and so on, which is what I expected, I was taken to the home page of the Swedish Wikipedia.
Unless more in-depth user-testing shows otherwise, either the behaviour should be changed, or the label should be “Read Wikipedia in your language”.

Hi @AndyMabbett – Thanks for the feedback, I’ve opened up a ticket for this in our sprint board: https://phabricator.wikimedia.org/T143244
Hi @Waynecalhoon – Are you referring to the accessibility options that many browsers have built in or something else?

Thanks for the update. I like the new functionality a lot. Great work!