New!’s “The Wikipedia Refined” includes dramatic changes to the crowd-edited encyclopedia’s design, but users aren’t convinced.
Wikipedia didn’t ask for a redesign, but Italian creative agency New! thinks it needs one.
The Wikipedia Redefined reads like a design manifesto. A single page with big typeface reveals the agency’s would-be plan to make Wikipedia “better, reader or editor friendlier, clearer and aesthetically satisfying.”
Everything from the logo to to the footer has a suggested edit. The famous puzzle-pieced world representing the landscape of open knowledge is reduced to the iconic “W”. And New! has also done away with a front page they felt was “overcrowded with display of languages, which overshadows the main functionality.”
That main functionality? Search. And New!’s redesign suggestions revolve around that reasoning. Therefore a main page redesign looks an awful lot like another search champion: Google.
While there isn’t a Wikipedia Talk page for New!’s suggestions, the agency encourages emails. Meanwhile, over on Reddit’s r/wikipedia subreddit, there’s a relatively short and dismissive thread regarding the design suggestions.
“This is one of the most singularly obnoxious page presentations I’ve ever seen,” writes AirRaven.
Regarding New!’s argument that Wikipedia’s main functionality is indeed search, Redditors also disagree.
“Wikipedia is not primarily a search engine. It doesn’t even have a very good search engine. It’s not typical for people to find Wikipedia articles via Wikipedia’s own search engine,” argues neon_overload. “Wikipedia still serves searchers well because of its strong Google presence, and people who want to browse are served well by their language’s main page.”
Will Wikipedia even listen? These pro-bono suggestions come after months and months of pleading banners blanketed the site to encourage donations. If it’s not broken, why fix it?
Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales couldn’t be reached for comment about New!’s proposal.
Photo via New!
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