You don't make Wikipedia easier to use by inventing new interaction paradigms.
Wikipedia is a tempting redesign project because many designers can't seem to understand how a website can be both ugly and highly useable.
I'm curious: why is Wikipedia in need of a redesign? George's reasoning here is that, "It hasn’t been changed or [refined] during the last 10 years. The web and its technologies has developed further and so [have] users." I'd argue that this puts the horse before the cart, though: Wikipedia's design shouldn't change simply to make use of new technologies unless using those technologies could make the site easier to use.
Figuring out the issues with Wikipedia's existing design are the real challenge: it's ugly, sure, but where does it fail functionally? There's a great article from 2007 in which a designer lays out where Wikipedia fails in terms of usability: http://www.raizlabs.com/graiz/2007/10/21/on-wikipedias-design-or-lack-thereof/
Some of the problems the designer identified in 2007 have been addressed, and others haven't, but it's interesting that the problems he identified are largely not very sexy: they really just involve moving navigation controls around, finding a better way to construct breadcrumb trails to enable users to locate themselves within the encyclopaedia etc.
I'd like to see a redesign in which the goal was to keep Wikipedia pretty damn ugly while at the same time making it more useable. That'd be a great challenge.
for me, using Wikipedia is primarily reading article pages. In the redesigns i've seen, readability is usually the top concern. That alone seems like a good enough reason to redesign to me, even without touching or adding other features
I think it still misses the point of wikipedia, absolutely nothing comes before content and ease of use for everyone.
Taking up huge real estate with a banner and having the table of contents and summary behind a button are probably the last things you want to do.
Also featuring unrealistic copy in a wikipedia redesign makes no sense.
Visually though it looks amazing and I really like the homepage design.
Couldn't agree more, i still hope someday someone's gonna imagine how Wikipedia will look like in 30 years. It's unchanged today because IMHO it works really really damn well, but in 30 years from now, with use change and everything, how it's gonna be ? (FUI)
Thank you for starting discussion here, it's really helpful to improve my redesign in the feature. I also want to make sure, that this redesign of Wikipedia is not real, you have to consider this concept as my fantasy, as testing of new functions and look-and-feel. It's like concept cars in auto industry.
But I'm going to keep working on wikipedia concept, consider all helpful feedback from here to make the concept more realistic. So, thank you very much for it.
Your assumptions are only as valid as theirs until you get it in front of users.
Also, the content looks pretty real to me...
What assumptions have I made?
The objective of Wikipedia is to have quality information that can be accessible to anyone no matter the language or device.
Taking up a large portion of the screen for a banner/title instead of content is a violation of that objective.
Hiding the summary and table of contents, both of which are integral parts to a wikipedia article, behind a button is a violation of that objective.
By unrealistic copy I mean they are using the photosynthesis text for everything. It might seam simple that they could just copy+paste the text from Nelson Mandela's page but the design as a whole does not accommodate for the variety of styles wikipedia pages have.
Assumption 1: Taking up a large portion of the screen for a banner/title instead of content is a violation of that objective
It could turn out that people are able to navigate better and focus more with this design because it grounds them (also an assumption).
Assumption 2: Hiding the summary and table of contents, both of which are integral parts to a wikipedia article
It could be that people don't use this as much as you do, or at least as much as you think they do.
Im just saying, recognize opinions for their subjectivity.
I've either been in this industry too long or not long enough, but the huge elephant in the room is that the websites that define the age of the web are unequivocally ugly.
On top of wikipedia theres:
- Craigslist, which single handedly took down the newspaper industry
- Amazon did the same for big box retail
- I could go on
Then facebook goes and "undesigns" itself so it can make more money.
For every 10 beautiful properties on the web, there's one big fat ugly turd that does the same thing but makes more money doing it.
I don't know how the rest of you feel about it, but it's something I've been thinking about lately.
Think you got a point here, but i can't help thinking about AirBNB which makes a lot of money and it's influencing every other similar services in UX & UI. It's not same in the same service category though :)
Google and Facebook are considered design leaders, though.
Not everything should be "beautiful" - I can make the prettiest website in the world, but if a user doesn't know what to do, then I have failed at my only job.
Design solves problems, it shouldn't create new ones.
If people never took risks/tried new things we'd still be taking Viking ships across the Atlantic Ocean.
Phrases such as ”beautiful typography“ don't really qualify as explanation for the design decisions.
this seems very much like a student project of "Redesign a property". Which I don't understand why professors give this as a project anyhow, or accept things that are quite obviously not addressing the needs.
What happened to students doing work for real clients at a reduced rate, the clients get better products, the designers get customer experience.
Otherwise yeah, this design misses the mark for me as well for most of what you guys already said about it not solving any real problem. I had a discussion on the #DN IRC with a young designer trying to do a new design for a website so that they would have something to put on the portfolio. Thats great, but thats putting the cart before the horse, why does the site need a redesign, what is the problem, THEN how do we solve it. Most of these wikipedia redesigns miss the problem.
As a teacher, I can tell you that, it is simply just that as you said - to have something to put on the portfolio. Remember that, for students, they have zero experience. Therefore, they aren't capable of addressing the needs or find the real underlying problem, and finally come up with a great solution.
For young designers, the more stuff they make and show to the people, the bigger the chance someone will notice them. How to start if you don't have client work yet?
The starting point of learning art and design has always been copying. Rebranding a famous brand or redesigning any UI is a shortcut to learn how to create a comprehensive project. But students and as well self-taught designers tend to forget that it's just the beginning. The next step would be create a total conceptual/fictional brand or app.
Why now bunch of designers doing wikipedia? Because it's one of the easiest website out there to uplift the styling. It's the website that has millions of users - meaning every viewer of the portfolio would know what wikipedia is. It's also for an easier for potential client to spot good/bad design (although there's a lot of clients who go with eye candy design). What these wikipedia redesigners and dribbblers aren't aware is that, this is a step backward if they already have real clients. Student projects and fake redesign should be buried as soon as they've got real clients. These redesign should be for practice only, not to further marketing yourself and get web traffic or likes.
Although I kinda see their perspective of wikipedia is truly free and open for users to collab and edit (even with UI design), it's sad that even wikipedia itself support these unsolicited design. It just keep these non-sensical design going on.
I read a lot of helpful comments here, but by reading yours, I have the feeling, that you have no patience to look int the screenshots and to analyse what was done. If you say "accept things that are quite obviously not addressing the needs", you have to substantiate it.
It's very pretty, and I'd live to see wikipedia look like this. I particularly like the editing features.
But it's very image heavy. Lets put aside all the articles that have ugly images tat aren't suitable for this design and instead think about bandwidth: every few months wikipedia needs to raise more money, and I'm sure some cost is shipping all the static resources out to people.
So, to keep costs down, it seems like wikipedia would want a minimal amount of extraneous images on their most visited page - their home page.
this would be an interesting concept if they didn't call it Wikipedia.
I couldn't resist to watch that page and think on Teehan+Lax kind of website.
Aside from this, I think the examples are ok. But the frontpage to me looks like a disaster.
The designer’s presentation was pretty cool (the actual Wikipedia redesign itself aside). The click-to-drag-to-see-more-content thing was not as cool, though… but great presentation.
"Easier to operate with" = hover states showing content? What about on tablet? Mobile?
What's a tablet? Get outta here with your fancy words...
I really appreciate the thought that went into this, but it still misses the mark for me.
It's nice to look at it, but I can't help but feel like accessibility took a backseat to aesthetics. Wikipedia's ugly and utilitarian, but it's fast and accessible across a wide range of connection speeds and devices. This is what Wikipedia is about: Getting information to as many people as possible. Anything that hinders that is wrong, in my opinion.
I think there would be significantly more value in picking an "awkward" article and making stylistic changes to improve readability and possibly page performance.