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A Promising Wikipedia Overhaul, Designed To Squash Info Overload

New, a creative agency in Lithuania, gives the site an unsolicited, but much-needed, makeover.

Knowledge is power and, of course, with great power comes great responsibility. As the quick and easy information go-to for Internet denizens worldwide, Wikipedia–with its sprawling stores of community-created content–is on the line for a lot, but its excess of data suffers from a dearth of design. New, a creative agency based in Lithuania, took on the task of re-imagining its identity with Wikipedia Redefined, giving the outdated brand a much-needed makeover.

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Almost a third of New’s work is non-profit, pro-bono, just plain fun, or, in the case of Wikipedia Redefined, a total passion project. “We never sacrifice anything for profit; that gives tremendous energy to the team and lets us feel a bit relaxed,” member Andrius Kazlauskas tells Co.Design. As a result, the 22-person studio is “like family.” Buoyed by the freedoms afforded by self-direction, they set about examining every element of the site, starting with the iconic puzzle mark. “For us, Wikipedia is about simplicity, but the logo shows the complexity of it all. Plus, it’s a bit dated graphically.” Ultimately, that entire motif was ditched for a single W that appears throughout, a “prefix for other sub-brands” like wikiSource, wikiQuote, and wikiBooks which make up wikiMedia. The homepage, currently cluttered with myriad languages, is given a color-coding system and straightforward search function, and the option to edit articles is also made more accessible (check out Wikipedia Redefined‘s epic scroll for a step-by-step explanation of their approach).

One of the bolder ideas: a crowdsourced news-aggregation page, with a condensed layout akin to a newspaper homepage.

So, will we all be able to enjoy this clear and concise online experience anytime soon? Kazlauskas put the odds at a discouraging, and definitive, “zero chance,” even though the response has been positive. “So far the reaction of people at Wikipedia–creators, not users, mind you–is they are not ready for anything radical,” he says (and the whole endeavor reminds me a bit of Wired’s similar attempt to updating Craigslist for a feature package a few years ago).

Despite the unlikelihood of implementation, the team still sees an opportunity to leverage what they’ve done for an audience who would no doubt welcome the opportunity to tool around with the slick style. “We are already working on app which will use new interface to read Wikipedia,” Kazlauskas explains. “We’ll see how that goes and if anyone’s interested.” What say you, knowledge-seekers?

[Image by Krasivo/Shutter Stock]