Wikipedia gets first major makeover in more than a decade

20 Jan 2023

Image: © IB Photography/

The Wikimedia Foundation said the update is designed to make the site more accessible and easier to use, featuring improved search options, an updated header and an easier-to-find language swapping tool.

Wikipedia has received an update to its desktop interface to modernise the site and improve its usability.

The Wikimedia Foundation, the non-profit that supports the website, said the update is designed to make Wikipedia more accessible and easier to use, regardless of a person’s familiarity with the internet.

The foundation said on Wednesday (18 January) that the update was already live on 94pc of the 318 active language versions of Wikipedia for all desktop users. This marks the first major desktop update in more than 10 years for the website.

The new features include an improved search function, which contains images and descriptions to make finding specific articles easier. The makeover also includes a maximum line width for articles to create a more comfortable reading experience for users.

Articles on the site also have a new table of contents on the side, which lets users see which section they are currently reading and helps them navigate to different parts of an article.

It is now also easier to locate the language-switching function, so readers and editors can quickly swap between more than 300 languages supported by the site. For logged in users, the website’s header follows the page as a user scrolls down an article so they can always access it without having to scroll back to the top.

The Wikimedia Foundations’ chief product and technology officer, Selena Deckelmann, said the update supports its mission to “make sure every person on the planet has free and equitable access to knowledge”.

“The changes make it easier for people to find and learn from the work of our incredible volunteers,” Deckelmann said.

“These features were created with feedback from readers and volunteers from all over the world, aiming to meet the needs of our increasingly diverse audience, while keeping the simple and straightforward feel that millions of people have come to trust over the last 22 years.”

The foundation said it engaged with more than 30 different volunteer groups from around the world throughout the update’s development process.

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Leigh Mc Gowran is a journalist with Silicon Republic