Corporate Eye

Wikipedia Puts Usability on Top around the World

Wikipedia is a popular site whether you want to admit it or not.  Sure, the content is user-generated and often flawed, but it is a handy place to get quick tidbits of information.  Personally, I find the links in the Resources section of articles to be a quick and easy way to verify facts and gather more information.  Again, it’s quick and easy, but we all know you need to do some additional research before you rely on anything you read on Wikipedia.

With that said, we’re all familiar with the boring, plain, text-heavy pages on Wikipedia as well as the iconic Wikipedia globe logo.  When you land on a Wikipedia Web page, you know where you are before you even have to scroll.

Despite that recognition, Wikipedia spent the past year researching the usability of its Web site, and last week launched a prototype new Wikipedia site design that is being beta tested with nearly 700,000 users.  The new look is shown below (you can get a better look here) and offers more color, a ‘boxy’ look that puts more content above the fold in a more organized design, and what looks like easier navigation.


Additionally, the new Wikipedia logo — an updated 3-D globe — has been launched, which is described on the Wikimedia blog as representing, “a new chapter in the history of the logo … as volunteers examined languages and scripts that were not represented in the previous iteration of the puzzle globe.”


Users are even invited to create local versions of the Wikipedia logo to make it more relevant to local cultures.  I have to give Wikipedia credit for investing the time and money into making these changes.  Regardless of how you feel about the content on Wikipedia, this branding effort and usability initiative are both strong positives for the company and site overall.

What do you think?

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Susan Gunelius is the author of 10 marketing, social media, branding, copywriting, and technology books, and she is President & CEO of KeySplash Creative, Inc., a marketing communications company. She also owns Women on Business, an award-wining blog for business women. She is a featured columnist for and, and her marketing-related articles have appeared on websites such as,,, and more. She has over 20 years of experience in the marketing field having spent the first decade of her career directing marketing programs for some of the largest companies in the world, including divisions of AT&T and HSBC. Today, her clients include large and small companies around the world and household brands like Citigroup, Cox Communications, Intuit, and more. Susan is frequently interviewed about marketing and branding by television, radio, print, and online media organizations, and she speaks about these topics at events around the world. You can connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Google+.