Wikipedia is about to get one of its biggest makeovers, with its owners The Wikimedia Foundation announcing significant changes to the website.

Some 500,000 beta users have already been using the new look Wikipedia, with 80 per cent of users sticking with the redesigned site.

The main reason for the changes is simplicity, with the Wikimedia blog stating: "Our overarching objective is to make it easier to find and contribute knowledge in Wikipedia and its sister projects.

"Volunteer participation is the essence of everything we do; our job is to facilitate and support that volunteer work. Continually improving the experience our projects is now a core mandate of the Wikimedia Foundation."

Ch-ch-changes

The main changes are as follows:

  • The look of the site has been changed. The new theme is called Vector – no, we don't know why either – and makes essential functions easier to find.
  • Page editing has been simplified. There is now a cheat sheet to help n00bs access commonly used functions.
  • There's also a new layout. This, again, has been simplified which means the search bar is now in an easier to find place and clutter has been significantly reduced.
  • PDFs of pages can be made. This is something that has been available to users who log in, but now is available to all.
  • For those who edit Wikipedia (ie, pedants) the editing system has been simplified, so less wiki code will be seen and the actual editing page is easier to navigate.

The Wikipedia redesign is set to go live "late April," barring any major hiccups. And if you hate the new look, all you have to do is subscribe to Wikipedia, log in and you can default back to the old look.