Wikipedia’s Beta: Pretty Yet Petty
So Wikipedia is launching a new “beta” version of the site, designed to ultimately stimulate usability amongst Wikipedians. Overall, the new look is pretty and intuitive, but doesn’t bring as much to the table as it should.
Design-wise, it’s the Web 2.0 look and feel that Wikipedia’s been begging for all along. The nice new fading lines and clean interface is a major overhaul from the old design, which had menus reminiscent of Microsoft Office Word 2005.
They did a good job with the design, and the tabs are relocated to better suit editing. Good job there.
What happened?! After clicking through the “use beta” message to enter my journey into the new design, the first thing I was going to (and that I always do first on the site) is hit the search bar and find an article I was looking for when – well, where did it go?
They moved it all the way to the top-right of the page, instead of the almost-halfway-down-the-left-sidebar placement it’s had since 200 B.C.
What the hell?! My mouse seems to automatically move itself over to the left as soon as the page loads, only now I have to drag it all the way back to the top right. What an inconvenience! Did they not take that into account?
And one more thing: Why doesn’t the cursor automatically populate the search input, a la Google? I’ve wanted to submit a patch to the Wiki software just for this, personally, because with that a page could load and I could search instantly – no mouse movement.
But since it makes too much sense, it won’t happen.
And way to not use AJAX, o might Wikipedians. Now we still have to wait for the “edit” page to load just to make a quick change.
And don’t bitch about accessibility – plenty of AJAX sites fall back on static-HTML while providing AJAX love to the 98% of AJAX-enabled web users. But I shouldn’t hold my breath in that department – Wikipedia feels the need to cater to about 20 different languages.
I don’t see a simple AJAX patch happening any time soon.
The New Editor
The edit page for all editable articles is prettier and the retard-size icons make a great improvement for those whom may have left their coke-bottle glasses at the office.
Need something other than the three giant icons at the top of the editor? Gonna have to open up a drop down toolbar for that. Seriously, couldn’t you learn something from WordPress about HTML text editors?
Yawn. It looks pretty and all Web 2.0, but they are still lacking improvements that should have been in place oh, say, 2007?
Then again, the Slashdot editor-in-chief complained that the very first iPod didn’t have WiFi, a camera, and more storage space (and when it did/will, people go nuts), so maybe I’m alone on this one.
But there’s definitely still plently of room for improvement. Way to update yourself to 2006 standards, Wikipedia.