Wikipedia, 5 things to know about the new version of the free encyclopedia

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Wikipedia turns 22 and introduces some changes, the first significant for at least a decade. In short, it refers to the look but in a fairly light way, without excesses but with some innovations that will be very useful for the usability of the free encyclopaedia (recently at the center of an investigation by the Rai3 TV program Reports compared to the transparency of the fundraising with which it sustains itself) and a visual, cleaner and more dry approach.

The first novelty is precisely linked to thegraphic settingwhich becomes easier to read thanks to a modified spacing: research “has shown that limiting the width of very long texts leads to a more comfortable reading experience and better preservation of the content itself” explain the Wikimedia Foundation which manages platform operations.

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The second novelty concerns the new side table of contents which makes it easier to navigate the content within a given Wikipedia article. It helps you know which section you are currently reading and remains visible on the left even as you scroll down the page, making it easier to navigate between sections.

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Then there is a simpler and more visible tool for change language: in this way a voice, perhaps richer in one edition and more sparse in another, can be explored in the different compilations. Languages, as you know, are over 300 for a total of 60 million items made by anyone who intends to contribute (and obviously the hoax risk is very high, not counting the under-representation of gender or minorities).

The fourth novelty consists of aimproved search experience with images and descriptions, which simplifies the “hunt” for articles on the platform: next to the word or formula searched for in the text box at the top, some thumbnailsvery useful for skipping the often frustrating disambiguation steps.

The fifth is that, once logged in to Wikipedia for those who are registered, the top toolbar it will move with the user as they scroll. So you no longer need to scroll to the top of the page to find what you’re looking for and can instead focus on reading and editing.

Wikipedia has been in the top 10 most visited sites in the world in virtually every market for years, garnering approx 16 billion visits per month, as if every inhabitant on Earth consulted at least two platform entries every 30 days. The updates were first implemented in the English version and will be expanded over time to the other dozens of editions.

More stories from Vanity Fair that may interest you:

  • Why are there so few women on Wikipedia?
  • Wikipedia, the invasion of (fake) biographies

Source: Vanity Fair

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