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Semantic MediaWiki’s new look

I’m late with this news, but the beginning of this week saw a visual overhaul for Semantic MediaWiki: a new front page, a new logo (seen here, along with the old one), and a corresponding change to the skin and some of the other pages on, to fit in with the new look. The new front page was the result of a long-running discussion among some of the Semantic MediaWiki developers, myself included, about how the SMW site could try to look more professional, more informative, and could be more geared toward marketing to potential new users. The two most important changes are the new big “Download” button, and the “Wiki of the month” feature, which is planned to show a different wiki every month, and which we hope will become over time a nice gallery of use cases. Plus, it’s a good way for SMW-using wikis to publicize themselves (apply here!).

I wasn’t involved with redoing the logo, but I definitely support the new look. The new logo neatly manages to suggest a whole host of things: a reference to the MediaWiki logo (another flower), plus structure, links, interaction with outside data (the bubbles in the background), and a little bit of Web 2.0 (the rounded border and the colors). And apparently the orange is supposed to match the orange of the main Semantic Web logo.

The old logo was clever in its own way, but it was very clearly based on the Wikipedia logo, and originated from a time when getting the software onto Wikipedia was the overriding goal of the SMW project. We’ve moved on a little bit, as they say.

Speaking of logos, I think the biggest thing the new front page is still missing is a list of notable companies and organizations that use the software (it’s a nice list already), whether that’s done as one of those big lines of logos or as a simple bulleted list. We’d need to get permission from various people in order to get such a thing, but I think it’s definitely worth the effort. And actually, the same thing holds true for the WikiWorks site – we’re just about at the point now when we could put together a nice list of clients. But that’s another story.

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