‘New!’, a creative agency in Lithuania, selected Wikipedia, one of the most popular website in the world, for a rebranding concept. They claim to make the website better designed, more functional and useful. Can ‘New!’ live up to this statement?
Everybody sources information from Wikipedia nowadays; it’s the first site that we refer to about topics we don’t know. Wikipedia keeps getting articles from all over the world and the information of the website keeps increasing on a daily basis owning to the user generated content. Needless to say, we all know Wikipedia’s UI and can navigate it blindfolded. ‘New!’ sees a scope for improvement for Wikipedia. It identified the potential of this popular website in becoming more than what it is. Let’s see if there’s any truth to their claim of bettering Wikipedia. This concept project of theirs is called ‘Wikipedia Redefined’.
The first major transformation is the logo. ‘New!’ made the logo of Wikipedia more sleek and modern instead of the chunky globe with characters from all languages. The redesigned concept logo is just the letter ‘W’ in italics sans the ‘ikipedia’. The word Wikipedia in this redesigned version is split into two components: ‘Wiki’ and ‘pedia’ (the former in italics and the latter in normal type). This is done to facilitate the connection of the parent brand with its other services so each individual service offered by the Wikimedia group will be homologous with the family. The matrix created by joining these brand extensions forms the logo of Wikimedia, the administrative body of the whole group.
I really like the way they’ve decluttered the home page. The current home page is littered with language options that occupy most of the screen space. The familiarity with this home screen makes us at ease with it, but another website with a similar interface would not have been so lucky; people would have bounced off just after looking at the sheer clutter of things. ‘New!’ has organized the language and search options in a more logical way. The main attention is on the big ‘W’ logo, that’s at the centre of everything like Superman’s ‘S’, and the search bar. Language options are given on top; hovering over it reveals the various options available to an information searcher. The amount of articles that are available in a particular language are indicated on the top with the help of a multicoloured bar; each language is assigned a unique colour. It’s no surprise that the blue portion of the bar extends more than the other colours as blue indicates English. The other Wikipedia extensions are given below the search bar.
‘New!’ has looked into other aspects of Wikipedia in their makeover. New functionalities have been added to the website, some of which are really useful. You can view the past articles you’ve read with ‘History’, highlight the important points of an article with ‘Quote’, see the relation between the article currently being read and the rest of the information present on Wikipedia with ‘Connect’, and also share and print the article with ‘Share’ and ‘Print’ respectively. These useful add-ons are worthwhile and can make information exploration on Wikipedia an enriching experience. Amongst all the modifications suggested by ‘New!’, the ‘Connect’ functionality is my favourite.
‘New!’ has also added a dash of data visualization to the mix. Apart from the language bar on top that is visualized, the various disciplines covered by the redesigned Wikipedia are also visualized. This is a handy and visually appeasing way to present data to information hungry users of Wikipedia.
The redesigning of Wikipedia by ‘New!’ has been done with a lot of thought and consideration. ‘New!’ has looked into many aspects of how data is being served to the audience and suggested neat add-ons and design changes that work well. Some other modifications made by ‘New!’ in ‘Wikipedia Redefined’ can be seen here: Wikimedia Redefined. I hope Jim Wales has seen Wikipedia Redefined and is already contemplating changes to the website.