Wikipedia - a self-initiated project

Overhauling one of the world's best loved websites

Wikipedia is the world’s largest, most current and diverse encyclopaedia. Along with its sister sites, and through the collaborative input of a globally spanning community, it is the worlds greatest free, open educational resource. It is in the 10 most popular world websites and is the only one that is not for profit.

Viewpoint Magazine invited Moving Brands to take part in their Brand Lab feature – a showcase of the creative process involved in rebranding a global company. We selected Wikipedia for this hypothetical transformation project, based on an early assumption that they provided an incredible resource, but were hampered with a weak brand and a ubiquitous but unimpassioned following.

Story

Our Assess phase supported these early assumptions, but also brought to light the astonishing breadth of the Wikipedia offer, and it’s role as one of 9 sister sites that make up Wikimedia. The not for profit organisation was founded on a vision of providing free knowledge that was objective, free from advertising and third party influences, a vision which has been preserved to this day.

The site offers a brilliantly simple user experience, has clear strategic goals and is driven by the objectives laid out in its Five Pillars. However, it fails to communicate its story of capturing, building and disseminating global knowledge.

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System

We looked at the brand architecture, and how the 8 sister sites could be better integrated and used to leverage Wikipedia’s potential as the world’s learning resource. This strategic work underpinned the decisions we made in the redesign of the site, in the development of the search functionality of the proposed app, and in the design of the new brand identity.

Moving Brands created a mark that leveraged the equity and ownability of the “W.” The mark is created from five lines that reference the “5 pillars,” and also represents the nine sister sites with nine equidistant nodes. As a living identity, the mark uses javascript to self-generate a unique movement and mark for every search term. This mark highlights where information exists on Wikimedia sister sites, advocating broader information gathering and encouraging contribution where content is missing. The mark forms a new, global semiotic language and references the collaboratively sourced, frequently updated information that makes up Wikpedia’s offer.

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Experience

When reviewing the user experience of Wikipedia, as the seventh most used site in the world, it was important not to alienate existing users. Recommended changes would expedite navigation, encourage editing with simplified functionality, and raise the profile of Wikipedia’s sister sites. The new look reflects the new identity and does not detract from the content on the site but rather works in harmony with it.

Wikipedia’s groundbreaking web platform encourages its global users to pursue deeper understanding of immeasurable topics. In an increasingly connected world, where users can ‘Google on the go’ it is imperative that this once innovative organisation provide a strong offer across mobile platforms. We proposed a Wikipedia app with various search functionality, on top of the basic browser based search term input. Users could enable push notifications that provide relevant local information through geo-location tracking, or use image capture technology to search for results via an image or photo.

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