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Wikimedia sites get a new look on tablets


Tablet users, rejoice! The Wikimedia Mobile Web team has been working to optimize the mobile view of all our projects, so that reading, browsing, and editing content are all easier on mobile touch screens of any size. Now our changes are finally live on tablets, too!

Why a new tablet view?

Wikipedia and its sister sites were designed long before the rapid growth of smartphones and tablets. For the past two years, we’ve worked to improve the reading and editing experience for smartphone users, and now we’ve turned our attention to tablets. If you’ve used Wikipedia on your phone, you may recognize similarities in the new tablet view. But we’ve also departed from the smartphone experience in some ways, in order to create a tablet-specific experience.

Just the features you need, designed the way you need them

  • Typography and layout. We’ve increased the font size and narrowed the width of the content area to improve readability. These changes are responsive, too, so it looks great whether you’re on a tablet, a phablet – or even the mobile site on your desktop computer.
  • Table of contents and sections. Get to the section you need quicker, but don’t be afraid to lose yourself in the content once you’re there. We’ve taken advantage of the larger screen space that tablets provide and kept article sections open to encourage long-form reading.
  • Last modified byline. Wikipedia is never finished. Getting more readers to see that our content is constantly growing and evolving is a big priority for us. Now you can see at a glance which articles have been edited recently, and which could use some love from contributors like you…
  • Editing. See a typo? Fix it! Simple formatting options and mobile-friendly linking to pages or references are coming soon for all tablet users, and starting this Thursday you can get a preview of this functionality now by opting into our experimental beta site (look for Settings in the site menu and tap to turn on Beta).
  • Other features. The contribution features you know and love, optimized for tablets: uploads, watchlist, page history, notifications, and more.

Your tablet, your choice

If you don’t want to leave the old desktop experience, fear not. You can switch between the desktop view and mobile view from any page by scrolling to the bottom and tapping the “Desktop” or “Mobile” links.

How can I give feedback?

We’re excited to hear from you about these changes! Leave us a comment here and let us know what you think.

Maryana Pinchuk, Product Manager, Mobile

195 Responses to “Wikimedia sites get a new look on tablets”

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  1. Maryana Pinchuk says:

    You can access talk pages by opting into the beta version of the site (in the top left navigation menu, go to Settings and opt into the Beta). We’ll be working to improve this functionality before we roll it out to all our users.

  2. Carl Jacobsen says:

    Speaking of which, “narrowed the width of the content area” – why on earth would you do that? A tablet screen is generally book-page sized and readable right up to the edge, and has less display area that can be used, making every pixel more valuable – why waste ANY of it? The tablet screen already has nice physical margins on the sides (the border around the screen itself), why make a second, “fake” margin inside that? It may make the page you’ve generated look pretty, taken in and of itself, but end users will never see it that way, they’ll see it within the already existing physical frame of their tablet. You’ve improved prettiness at the expense of usability. That seems a step backwards for WikiPedia.

  3. Maryana Pinchuk says:

    Hi Clare,

    You can return to the desktop view by scrolling to the bottom of any page and clicking the “Desktop” link. This will keep you in the desktop view.

  4. AdisapointedWipedian says:

    Nwe=Bad Old=Good The font is HUGH. Waaayyy too big. I used to be able to scan the entire page….. news, anniversaries, “did you know” and recent deaths. Also the way pics are displayed is bad. They used to be nice and crip. Now sometimes they are still fuzzy even when you for them to finaly load completly.

  5. Carl Jacobsen says:

    On Talk pages (I’m looking at the one for the Swift programming language), the boilerplate generated by all the “this article is part of XYZ group” tags is all expanded out, so instead of a small block of 5 or 6 lines, I’ve got five and a half SCREENS full of “helpful” boilerplate to scroll past, before reaching the actual content of the page. That does feel a little “dumbed down”, as if tablet users are expected to not know how to expand those sections (if they want), the way that desktop users can.

  6. Tyler Simonds says:

    This is very very bad! Absolutely horrible! I’m begging you to please return to the old format. Please. This is not an improvement it’s the opposite. It was much easier to read the other way. I love wikipedia and I hate seeing it like this.

  7. Carl Jacobsen says:

    The page above says, “We’ve increased the font size and narrowed the width of the content area to improve readability.” Which sort of sounds nice, but can be read as “we’ve decided you shouldn’t be able to see as much content at once. Working on a tablet that was designed to cope with the web as it already was, it’s quite easy for me to zoom in to focus in a certain part of a page or make text bigger – it’s harder to undo damage done by well-meaning sites that are “just trying to help”.

    (Reminds me of a story of a man who had a little trouble hearing, so got a hearing aid to take care of the problem himself – except whenever people noticed it, they started TALKNG VERY LOUDLY “to help” (and the amplified yelling was painful) – he ended up having to wear the hearing aid _turned off_.)

  8. Carl Jacobsen says:

    Huh, I submitted a change on a talk page, using my iPad with the previous style view, and it redrew using the new tablet-needed version. Guess I caught it right as the new code paged in. Tablets are generally designed to cope just fine with desktop versions of websites, so I’m not sure this was needed.

    Regardless, you’re going to get a lot of complaints if the tablet version offers ANY less functionality than the desktop version, and doesn’t include a clear “switch to desktop” button at the bottom of the page (like many other sites have).

  9. NTB says:

    First of all, I am not an iPad user…. I have a Nexus 7; that being said (typed), I am running into a similar problem as the users of said tablets: text is far too large, everything seems too simplified, etc.

  10. Kevin Walters says:

    Seconding Carol here. Would be nice to have the Talk and History sections easily accessable on this design. Makes it easier for me to check the reliability of the articles. Otherwise the design’s pretty good, but there’s nothing that makes me really want to use it over the desktop version.

  11. KYouell says:

    The desktop version is accessible by a link at the bottom of each page. Perhaps this post was updated after those comments were made?

    The Talk page is still accessible. I got to it by turning on the Beta version (menu, settings).

  12. Clare Bennett says:

    I really don’t like this new look, is there any way I can get the old one back? It’s really annoying me.

  13. Muddville Music says:

    Looks/works great on my Galaxy 3 tab! 5 stars!

  14. Martin Bloy says:

    HORRIBLE! Wiki for kiddies. Leave it as it was…

  15. Kiki says:

    This is TERRIBLE for those of us who use the iPad instead of a desktop or laptop. THUMBS DOWN! Can I opt-in to use the old version?

  16. Greg says:

    Don’t like it. How do I go back to using desktop version. Mobile version sites are limited

  17. I love it, great ideas and functionality! Thanks for always improving.

  18. Keith gold says:

    It was fine as it was. Where’s ‘it happened today’?

  19. Carol Clabo says:

    Where is the Talk section. While I am not a contributor , I rely on viewing the comments under talk to get a sense of controversy or differences regarding content. I am very unhappy to not have this feature available.

  20. HydroHelios says:

    I dont like this design as a everyday user of an ipad prefer the old one (computer one)