Wikipedia has started testing a new account sign-up page as it looks to curb the decline in the number of registrations over the past couple of years.

If you’re reading this, there’s more than a good chance you’ve used Wikipedia.

Wikipedia has evolved into a major go-to destination for those in search of knowledge, be it to swot up on the films of Laurel & Hardy, or discover what E=MC2 really means. But have you ever actually taken the time to input your own knowledge and become a fully-fledged Wikipedian?

Now, if you’re merely browsing, you don’t in fact need to sign up for a Wikipedia account. And if you want to edit pages, you don’t really need an account either, but if you save your edits your IP address is publicly recorded in this page’s edit history. However, if you create an account, you can conceal your IP address and receive other benefits such as being able to create new pages and upload photos.

With that in mind, Wikipedia is testing a new sign-up page as it looks to encourage more people to make the leap from watcher to Wikipedian. You’ll likely see this page at the moment if you go to sign up:Wiki1 520x355 Wikipedias testing a new sign up page to entice would be Wikipedians

This wordy, clunky page is currently under review and some people will now be seeing a new design from this week, which is much more direct and less foreboding. The new look is being delivered 50% of the time as part of an A/B test…so you may see it sometimes, others not:

Wiki2 520x336 Wikipedias testing a new sign up page to entice would be Wikipedians

Wikipedia notes that the current design hasn’t been “given much love” in recent years, and could be contributing to the decline in registrations over the last few years. It says:

“We’ve updated the visual design to be far less cluttered and expose a clearer structure, and reduced the amount of instructional text that appears before the form. As a side benefit, mobile users should find the page easier to use, though our mobile team is working on further enhancements, too.”

This is currently only under review for the English Wikipedia, though it’s probably safe to assume that if successful, the new layout will be rolled out across more languages. And Wikipedia is also seeking to make the benefits of creating an account clear by listing them at the sign-up point.

Meanwhile, check out our interview with Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales from last year, where he discusses censorship, the Wikipedian demographic…and why he hates the word ‘crowdsourcing’.

Feature Image Credit – Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images