A questioner on Quora asked whether Wikipedia has ever considered a redesign. In response, Wikpedia designer Brandon Harris, has written the clearest explanation I’ve read of the challenges involved in changing the design of a large scale Web site. If there’s one universal truth that I’ve absorbed more and more deeply with age, it’s that change never comes easy.
Here’s one bit:
How about languages? We support around 300 of them. That’s a scale problem that most people forget. I’ve seen several unsolicited redesigns that may look pretty but nearly all of them ignore (or worse, downplay) what is arguably the greatest feature of Wikipedia: that you can get it in your own language. If we want to change a text label (say, from “Password” to “Enter your password”) it will require hundreds of volunteers to check and localize that text. It’s a daunting task.
That’s just one of many complexities that he catalogs.