Slick Full-Screen Search Comes to Wikipedia Mobile Site in Beta

Wikipedia is focusing on its mobile site and is even building a mobile app

By on December 5th, 2011 18:51 GMT

Just like Google would tell you, any chance it gets, everyone is going mobile. Wikipedia, a top 10 website globally, is finally starting to focus more on the mobile version of its site and is even building an Android app.

It's been working on a revamp of its site for smartphones and it's adding more features and making changes at a constant rate. Lately, it's been focusing on the search feature, arguably a very important element, especially for a mobile site, where any typing is a hassle.

Already, Wikipedia's mobile site supports search suggestions and term blocks. Both features make it easy to compose a new query.

But Wikipedia is now testing a new, subtle but interesting change, it is expanding the search box, along with suggestions, to the entire screen to make sure no screen real estate is wasted. The feature is only available in the beta version of the site, so be sure to opt-in.

"Screen real estate is precious and you have to use it very wisely on mobile. Rather then squishing all of our search results inside a fraction of the screen we’re testing using the whole screen for search results," Tomasz Finc, Director of Mobile and Special Projects at Wikimedia, wrote.

The new search feature looks rather slick and going full screen does make sense. After all, if you're searching for something, chances are, you don't care about the current page anymore.

"Most of our users have said that when they search they are moving forward not backward. As a result we want to focus their experience on what they are actually doing: search," Wikipedia explained.

On the regular site, the suggestions box is big enough to house most useful suggestions and is also rather usable with a mouse. But on a touch-enabled device, going full screen and having the individual suggestions well spaced out and clearly defined works best.

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The new full-screen search box for Wikipedia mobile
   The new full-screen search box for Wikipedia mobile