Wikipedia portal redesign

Redesign of Wikipedia portal site still being discussed after poll closes

A poll to redesign the Wikipedia portal closed last Friday, but the old design remained in place as the proponents of the two most popular new designs worked to combine elements from both proposals.

The Wikipedia portal page at replaced the earlier redirect to the English Wikipedia several weeks ago (see archived story), prompting surprise and criticism from users of the English Wikipedia. The change appears to have been accepted now, but people have been looking for a more appealing design for the portal, as initial attempts at the layout were considered bland.

CatherineMunro's design

In an attempt to solve this, CatherineMunro developed a new design featuring the Wikipedia logo in the center, surrounded by a group of the largest Wikipedia languages. Below this would be a multilingual search box for these languages, followed by all remaining languages having at least 100 articles, clustered into three groups. At the bottom would be links to Wikipedia's sister projects, as in the present layout.

This effort received a very enthusiastic initial reaction on the Village pump, as virtually everyone who saw Catherine's portal design endorsed it to replace the current, basically all-text page.

However, problems cropped up with rendering the page properly in older versions of Konqueror, particularly version 3.1. Screenshots of the page in these versions showed that instead of grouping the largest languages symmetrically around the Wikipedia logo, they ended up clumped together and overlapping badly with the logo image. AlanBarrett made some efforts to improve the format to work around these problems.

Other proposals

Eventually, a couple of other proposals were brought up by Node ue and Forseti. Node's version was a variation on Catherine's design, but smaller and without the search box. It did not display properly and Node admitted that "it isn't exactly functional".

Forseti's design was closer to the current format, but brought the Wikipedia logo into the layout and added a border. It added some text from the Wikipedia article in the background behind the logo and offered different versions to resemble Wikipedia's MonoBook and Cologne Blue skins.

Poll results and possible new combinations

The poll on which design to use, which was held on the Meta site where the editable portal page is located, started 28 January and closed on 11 February. With the support generated at its reception, Catherine's version received the most votes, 75 in all. Forseti's version, a late addition to the poll, still managed to pick up support from 30 users over the last week of the poll. The only support for the existing version, however, came from two voters who weren't even logged in.

Given the overwhelming unpopularity of the current design, requests to implement a change started coming in even before the poll closed. No action was taken, however, and the portal wiki page itself remained protected due to an earlier edit war.

Meanwhile, Catherine, Forseti, and others discussed how their proposals might be merged to reasonably satisfy supporters of both designs. As part of this effort, Forseti posted three reworked versions that retained the MonoBook design, but moved the Wikipedia logo to the center and arranged the largest languages in various patterns around the logo. Based on this, it looks like another round of discussion will be needed to pick the final design — perhaps even another poll.

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