Wikipedia's Usability Initiative: Making MediaWiki (More) User-Friendly



The Wikipedia Usability Initiative is a project to transform the free encyclopedia into something that truly anyone can edit. I'll outline the progress made since 2008 and offer a sneak peek at the future of MediaWiki.


Wikipedia may be everyone’s favorite online reference work, but its software is stuck in 2004. Without a usability overhaul or major redesign of Wikipedia’s skin since then, MediaWiki’s now on the ugly and arcane end of the open source wiki spectrum.

There is hope for the future though. Kicked off by an $890,000 grant and now a permanent part of the Wikimedia Foundation team, the Wikipedia Usability Initiative is set to change MediaWiki’s look and feel in ways that will affect both readers and editors of Wikipedia.

By late April, you’ll have noticed the first major change: the adoption of the Vector skin as the public default for Wikipedia. This is merely the beginning, however. I’ll show you the new tricks up our collective sleeve, and hopefully change your perspective on the future of open source wiki software.

Speaking experience