The sister site of Wikipedia is currently undergoing its biggest design overhaul since its launch in 2004.
The new look Wikia site aims to combine the best features of the social web with the publishing tools used by Wikipedia. Since the for-profit site was launched six years ago, Wikia’s two million registered users have created more than 165,000 wikis. Topics range from cult TV shows to genealogy and even include recipes and vintage patterns.
As reported by BBC News, the site founder Jimmy Wales said he wanted to re-invent wikis so it was simple and easy to use, in the hope more people will be encouraged to contribute to articles.
“The intention is to reach out beyond the traditional core of people who are involved in Wikia and get in more people editing on a wider range of diverse topics. Traditionally what we saw in the early days was entertainment and gaming wikis but primarily steeped in geek culture with the likes of Star Wars and Star Trek,” he said.
“We are now seeing the trend in the direction of Twilight with a heavy skew to females and we want to continue in this direction. Wikia is a tool for everyone in society to participate and share in and not just the traditional geek,” he added.
The interactive website design will remain, but the social element and the way in which people share using networks such as Facebook and Twitter, will heavily contribute to the website’s redesign. The changes mean users will be able to share their edits and contributions with friends through the use of social tools. Real-time streams, polls and top 10 lists are also being added to the site to boost user engagement and make the site more fun and interesting to use.
Wikipedia was started in 2001 and has almost 3.5 million articles, but Mr Wales revealed that making the online encyclopedia available in other languages was top of his agenda.
“We have a long way to go certainly and we are far from done. There is still an amazing amount of work to do certainly in terms of focusing on the languages of the developing world,” he said.