A co-worker recently made me aware of a project by design agency New! that was a two-month exercise to redefine and redesign Wikipedia, one of the world’s most popular websites. If only we all had the time for such an interesting effort.
The New! revision of Wikipedia is online at the Wikipedia Redefined website, where the team explains the multi-faceted approach to redefining this internet icon.
It explains its motivation quite simply:
“It all started from a question: ‘If we could improve one thing which we use and love, what would that be’. We have chosen Wikipedia and called our quest Wikipedia Redefined.”
New! started with the brand, moved on to the logo and what it conveyed, and eventually drilled down into the information architecture, user interface, and UI elements like icons that make up the Wikipedia experience. New! approached the site from both the content-creation and content-consumption aspects, and even took on the Wikipedia text editor. The results are impressive.
Of course there are flaws, as there are with all design projects. Some of the icons are not immediately clear as to what they do and some of the color choices are too low contrast for people with less than perfect vision.
But remember, this is a design agency trying to show its creative capabilities. The fact they took on such a challenge should at least inspire all of us to pick a homepage or a web form or a mobile app screen we don’t like and just have a go at making it better. Those exercises would not be informed by the technical or financial realities of the product in question, but they could serve to stir our own creative juices and cause us to look at our own products in a new way.