Over the next couple of years, the readers web team will be designing and building improvements to the desktop experience based on research and existing tools. Our goals are to make Wikimedia wikis more welcoming to new readers and editors, and easier and quicker to use for all (both newcomers and veteran editors). This page summarizes how we plan on releasing these changes throughout our projects.
After a series of product and technical conversations, we have decided to implement the improvements directly within the vector skin. However, it is important for us to continue providing the current experience for users that choose to not use the improved skin. As a part of this process, we will be freezing the current version of the vector skin, which will remain available for all logged-in users under the name Legacy Vector.
It is important for us to receive feedback from both readers and editors throughout the process of making the proposed changes. Thus, we will be deploying the changes as default to a set of test wikis for all users, and as a user preference to all other wikis Thus, we will be deploying the changes to all Wikipedia projects. For most projects in order to see the changes you will need to opt-in in your user preferences (by turning Legacy Vector off). However a small number of projects have volunteered to see all the new updates by default. Editors on all wikis will also be provided with a quick opt-out button if they wish to use the older version of the skin.
In addition, we will be running user testing and prototype feedback rounds containing a set of 2-3 features every few months on logged-in and logged-out users. This feedback will be used to iterate on features prior to development.
After deployment, quantitative testing via a/b tests and comparisons over time will be performed for individual features. The results of these tests will also be used to iterate on the proposed features, and, in the case of significantly negative results, roll back.
Over time, we are hoping to increase the set of test wikis gradually, until the default on all wikis is switched away from the legacy version of the vector skin.
As mentioned above, the legacy (current) version of the Vector skin will continue to be available indefinitely as an option on the preferences page.
In late 2019, we reached out to a set of wikis asking for volunteers to be test wikis for this project. We received confirmation from several of these wikis and formed a list of wikis we thought would be a good fit. When selecting test wikis, we wanted to focus on representation across wikis of various sizes, languages, and scripts. We also wanted to ensure that at least one non-Wikipedia project is selected. Based on the above criteria, the current list of test wikis is:
Throughout the course of the project, we would like to increase the number of test wikis. If your community is interested in participating, please let us know on the project talk page. We will be beginning deployments at the end of March, 2020. For more details, visit the timeline.