Reading/Web/Desktop Improvements/Updates/2022-11 for the mid-size wikis


Let's make Vector 2022 the default skin[edit]

Hello. We are the Wikimedia Foundation Web team. We would like to discuss with you about making the Vector 2022 skin the default on this wiki.

We plan on making this change within the next three weeks. We will gladly answer your questions, concerns, or additional thoughts! We will also help you adjust things which Vector 2022 may not be compatible with. Check out our FAQ. You may find useful answers there.

About the skin[edit]

Vector 2022 is the modernized version of the currently default skin Vector legacy. We have been working on it for the past three years. Currently, it is the default on almost every Wikipedia and many sister projects (~300 wikis). This accounts for more than 4 billion page views per month. On average, 87% of active logged-in users of those wikis use Vector 2022.

It would become the default for all logged-out users, and also all logged-in users who currently use Vector legacy. Logged-in users can at any time switch to any other available skins, including the current version of Vector legacy, Timeless, and Monobook. No changes are expected for users of these skins.

Slides to our Wikimania 2022 presentation. You may also listen to the recording on YouTube (in English).

[Why is a change necessary] When the current default skin was created, it reflected the needs of the readers and editors as these were 13 years ago. Since then, new users have begun using the Internet and Wikimedia projects in different ways. The old Vector does not meet their needs.

[Objective] The objective for the Vector 2022 skin is to make the interface more welcoming and comfortable for readers and useful for advanced users. It introduces a series of changes that aim to improve problems new and existing readers and editors were having with the old skin. It draws inspiration from previous user requests, the Community Wishlist Surveys, and gadgets and scripts. The work helped our code follow the standards and improve all other skins. We reduced PHP code in the other available skins by 75%. The project has also focused on making it easier to support gadgets and use APIs.

[Changes in a nutshell] The skin introduces changes to the navigation and layout of the site. It adds persistent elements such as a sticky header and table of contents to make frequently-used actions easier to access. It also makes some changes to the overall styling of the page. The analysis of the data collected concluded that these changes improve readability and usability, and save time currently spent in scrolling, searching, and navigating – all of which can be interpreted to create an easier reading experience. The new skin does not remove any functionality currently available on the old Vector skin. On wikis with this skin as the default, there are no negative effects to page views, account creation, or edit rates.

Global preferences

[Try it out] We encourage you to try out the new skin by going to the appearance tab in your preferences and selecting Vector 2022 from the list of skins.

How can editors change and customize this skin?[edit]

We make it possible to configure and personalize our changes. We are happy to work with volunteers with technical skills who would like to create new gadgets and user scripts. So far, many gadgets and user scripts have been built by community developers. These aspects include making the skin full width, turning off sticky elements, bringing back the old table of contents, and more. We encourage you to check out our repository for a list of currently available customizations and changes, or to add your own.

A summary of findings and results[edit]

  • On average, 87% of logged-in users on our early adopter wikis (incl. French Wikipedia) continue to use the new skin once they try it.
  • The sticky header makes it easier to find tools that editors use often. It decreases scrolling to the top of the page by 16%.
  • The new table of contents makes it easier to navigate to different sections. Readers and editors jumped to different sections of the page 50% more than with the old table of contents.
  • The new search bar is easier to find and makes it easier to find the correct search result from the list. This increased the amount of searches started by 30% on the wikis we tested on.
  • The skin does not negatively affect page views, edit rates, or account creation. In fact, there is observational evidence of increases in page views and account creation across partner communities.

Thank you!