Wikipedia will enact some changes to its user experience, including adjusting its default theme and introducing tools that will make its crowd-sourced articles easier to edit, in April, according to a posting on the Wikimedia blog. Deployment of those changes will begin April 5 on Wikipedia Commons, Wikipedia's media repository, followed by a rollout to Wikipedia in late April. Since its founding in 2001, Wikipedia has managed to amass a collection of 3.2 million articles in English, although controversy occasionally erupts about the accuracy of its crowd-sourced content.
Wikipedia plans on making fundamental changes to its user experience in
April, including changing the crowd-sourced reference Website's default theme
and making pages easier to edit. The ultimate goal, according to the
development team behind the project, will be to simplify the process of finding
and adding information to both Wikipedia and its associated sites.
a March 25 posting on the Wikimedia Blog, published by the Wikipedia
Foundation, Naoko Komura "and the Wikimedia Foundation User Experience
team" detailed the changes to the Website's look and layout, which will
include a new editing toolbar "that makes it easier to insert links and
tables" and streamlined visuals.
"We've simplified the 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," the blog posting reads.
In terms of schedules, "We will begin deployment of these changes in
the week of April 5 on Wikipedia Commons, the media repository used by
Wikipedia," the blog posting added. "Provided that we don't encounter
major hiccups with this first rollout, we are planning deployment of the
changes to Wikipedia in late April, beginning with the English Wikipedia,
followed by other languages."
Changes to Wikipedia's editing tools will include reducing the amount of
code in the edit system, along with simpler editing forms, buttons and
instructions for the posting process. Another team goal, apparently, is the building
of an "improved interface for uploading images and video, and searching
our existing multimedia repository." Registered users will have the
ability to "opt-in" to the new features, which will be presumably
refined based on feedback.
launched in 2001, Wikipedia currently hosts some 3.2 million articles in
English, although the crowd-sourced nature of its articles occasionally draws
controversy. Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales has also occasionally had to defend
certain actions, such as having his administrators flush information about kidnapped
New York Times journalist David Rohde from the site after the latter was
kidnapped in Afghanistan.
"When we say we insist on reliable sources, and when we say we care
about the humanitarian impact of our work, we mean it," Wales
said at the time.
Nicholas Kolakowski is a staff editor at eWEEK, covering Microsoft and other companies in the enterprise space, as well as evolving technology such as tablet PCs. His work has appeared in The Washington Post, Playboy, WebMD, AARP the Magazine, AutoWeek, Washington City Paper, Trader Monthly, and Private Air. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.