Redesigning the Basque Wikipedia main page

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Most of Wikipedia main page’s rely on text, and are based on English Wikipedia main page. Some Wikipedias have been experimenting with other designs, but Basque Wikipedia’s new main page brings the interactivity and discoverability to new heights, combining an attractive design with features unique to this language version.

Take any Main page in Wikipedia, and you are reading one of the most visited place in that language. English Wikipedia’s main page receives around 4.7 million visits per day. The same numbers apply to other language versions, with nearly half a million for Spanish, a little bit more for French, and nearly a million in German. Neverthless, the Main page design tends to be a block of text, with few attention given to have a modern and clean design. Wikipedians love text, and they like to show that in their designs.

Basque Wikipedia’s main page is not so visited: with around 1,700 visits per day, it is still the most visited page for the Basque Wikiepdia. But Basque Wikipedia has other great projects, like Ikusgela, the education related video project, or Txikipedia, the encyclopedia for children. Recently, Basque Wikipedia became the 33rd Wikipedia on number of articles, and the community has adopted a brand new design, focused on showing more content, with a focus on interactivity.

Introducing the grid

Building a new and more visual design needed a focus on how to present things. Instead of showing blocks of text, the new design is more image related, and everything is distributed in a grid. This gives more options to make the design responsive for mobile phones or smaller screens, and content is presented in a more clean way.

The new design is built in a modular way. Firstly, we have featured content, showing the last three featured articles, which change once per week. The second module is about the community, showing currently active events, discussions and interesting projects. This section is more static, but can easily showcase what the community is working on.

A section for Ikusgela videos

Ikusgela is a project by Basque Wikimedians User Group aiming to create high quality pedagogic videos for a wide range of topics, from philosophy to economics, from ecology to literature. 2023/2024 has been the second season of videos, and currently nearly 90 videos are available on Commons or YouTube. [More at this Diff post]

Showcasing these videos is a challenge for any Wikimedia project, as videos are not very relevant in most of them. That’s why the new design has a section for Ikusgela, with random videos divided in different topics. There’s even a section for the “one-minute-long-vertical-videos”, called “Zortziko txikian”.

Adding dynamic content

After Ikusgela, we can read a dynamic section with “On this day…” where you can select events for other days. And the Commons image of the day, which is loaded with a bot. Below that, a section for recent deaths, which is loaded using Wikidata and ListeriaBot and a manually changed “On the news” section.

But the most interesting sections are below, in a section called “Explore”. There, we can find nearby articles and the most read articles from the previous days.

These two interactive sections were created during the Hackathon 2024 in Tallinn, and they work with a JavaScript code loaded via Gadget. Both exploring sections give interesting insights for readers, who can know more about what is trending and what they have nearby.

Copying the design

All the design and modules can be copied (evidently), and adapted for other languages. Redesigning the Main page and adapting for new audiences and design trends is something wikimedians should be open to.

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