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Wikipedia set to unveil new features

May 11, 2010 |  1:43 pm

Over the next few days, Wikipedia will be getting a substantial face lift. 

The biggest change the online encyclopedia will make is a changeover to a new "skin" called Vector. The difference between its current design and Vector aren't significant, but it's enough of a change that it might take some getting used to for those that don't take kindly to site changes.

UsabilityNavigation

A key component in that redesign is an improved navigation for both reading and editing pages. Users will find more stylish tabs at the top of each Wikipedia page telling them whether they're viewing a document or a discussion page. It will also remind them if they're reading or editing a respective entry.

It has also improved the search-suggestion feature to reportedly make it more reliable. The goal, Wikipedia said, is to get users to the "page [they] are looking for more quickly."UsabilityDialogs

Those that edit Wikipedia entries will find an updated editing toolbar as well as the ability to more efficiently format pages. It has also added a "Link wizard" to include links in wikis.

All the changes, including Wikipedia's new skin, will be rolled out over the next few days. Based on user reactions to the improvements, Wikipedia plans to update the site again later this year with other improvements.

For those that want to try something new, Wikipedia has a prototype page available that allows users to click around and see all the new changes before they go live on the site.

-- Don Reisinger

twitter.com/donreisinger

Images, from top: A view of the new navigation in Wikipedia, and the online encyclopedia's new "Link wizard." Credit: Wikipedia

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