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Requests for comment/Redesign user preferences

From mediawiki.org
Request for comment (RFC)
Redesign user preferences
Component General
Creation date
Author(s) MZMcBride, Quiddity, everyone
Document status in draft
See Phabricator.

This is a requests for comment regarding redesigning Special:Preferences.


The "Misc" user preference tab looks very lonely; Special:Preferences needs love

Special:Preferences is currently pretty ugly. It should be redesigned (cf. phab:T64559).

We want to use a strategy of "minimum change, for maximum benefit"; Requests for comment/Core user preferences was used as reference, with additional suggestions coming from the Wikimedia community (users on Phabricator, Wikimedia Foundation staff, users on-wiki, et al.).

High-level requirements[edit]

Aspects to retain, and aspects to improve.

  1. Not overwhelming to newcomers
    • highlight the basic/core/popular options
  2. Advanced options are still available for powerusers
    • Be able to grow, with the many requests for new options (onwiki/phabricator/etc)
    • Integrate with the future GlobalPreferences (phab:T16950)
  3. Show defaults
    • The "Restore all defaults" button is ambiguous.
    • We want to know what the defaults are. (phab:T70689, Notes)
  4. The [Save button] is always visible/nearby
    • Or, changing anything, results in an auto-save (phab:T58561)
    • Ideally, [Saving] shouldn't reload the page, as that makes the [Browser history][Back button] annoying.
  5. Linkable sections, for clear targets from documentation and discussions


There's the overall layout of the whole set, which has 4 options:

  1. All on one long page,
    1. Collapsible sections. (see #Mock below).
    2. Use a repeating "nav-bar" above each subsection, for visual indication + navigation. (like m:Grants:IEG does.)
  2. Retain the "subpages/subtabs"
    1. Horizontal tabs (current layout in Vector/Monobook)
    2. Vertical tabs. (eg Cologne Blue, Miranda NG, foobar2000)

and the layout within each section. Ideas/scratchpad:

  • Split the preferences into "Basic vs Advanced"
    • Basic options use a larger font.
    • Advanced options are in a right-floating column, with Basic in the left-floating column.
    • Advanced options are hidden until I click "Show advanced options".
  • ?

Add ideas above. Discuss at talk - Layout.

Visual design[edit]


Approximately 30 wikis have been sampled and they are generally consistent. The only major anomalies are:

  • UploadWizard (Commons only)
  • Misc (WikiLove and EducationProgram at the English Wikipedia, contents vary per wiki)
  • Threaded Discussion [LiquidThreads] (primarily mediawiki.org and translatewiki.net, plus other non-Wikimedia Foundation sites) - Functionally replaced with Flow, sometime (See below).

Does anyone know of other unique sections, to take into account? Add above.

We'll need to examine the sub-settings and wiki-variations (projects/languages/non-wmf), before a more exact and definite proposal.

Current structure and proposals[edit]

Current Proposal 1 (#Mock below) Proposal 2
  1. User profile
  2. Appearance
  3. Editing
  4. Recent changes
  5. Watchlist
  6. Notifications
  7. Gadgets
  8. Beta features
  9. Misc
  10. Edit review (Pending changes)
  1. User profile
  2. Appearance
  3. Editing
  4. Watchlist and recent changes (Or "Feeds")
  5. Gadgets
  6. Beta features
  1. User profile & Languages
  2. Notifications & Newsletters [1] [2]
  3. Appearance & Accessibility [3] [4]
  4. Editing [5]
  5. Watchlist & Recent changes
  6. Gadgets
  7. Beta features
  1. Notifications come from Extension:Echo, unless/until it is moved into Core, so we can't just merge all email stuff here yet. Placing it below the "email" in "User profile" is most logical, and gets newcomers integrated with and aware of the various communication vectors.
  2. standard long-term request.
  3. Some people want more whizbang [processor or bandwidth intensive] features. (e.g. animated mind-maps, or pre-loading slideshows of large images, etc). Other people want minimal settings for [default browser chrome instead of mw.ui buttons], [minimal animation or javascript], [cheap on mobile], etc. Skins should be modular, so that powerusers and edge-case users can select the bits they want. So that new gadgets and styles can thrive, without killing off old ones.
  4. See also phab:M17 for a proposed menu system that could work for IPs and registered users.
  5. Plus Edit review/Flaggedrevs, where installed


Please note: this is a very rough mock-up related to phab:T65583. Each section will be collapsed using JavaScript. The top section ("User profile") will be auto-expanded by default. Icons and exact text still need to be decided in the future.

User profile
Username Jimmy Wales
User ID 1234
Member of groups Administrators, Autoconfirmed users, Bureaucrats, Editors, Importers, Users
Connected apps Manage 2 connected applications
Number of edits 1,572
Registration time 20:47, 6 August 2007
Global account status All in order!
Password Change password
Recent changes and watchlist
Beta features

Bugs, and other items to add or consider, in each section[edit]

phab:T64559 is the tracking bug.

Please comment on the relevant bug entries or below.

  • User preferences open tasks
    • phab:T65583 - Change MediaWiki core user preferences layout
    • phab:T60223 - Improvements to the layout and contents of Special:Preferences (tracking)
    • phab:T54807 - User preferences in MediaWiki to be removed (tracking)
    • phab:T42346 - Way to bring back user preferences that were removed from core (tracking)
    • phab:T52039 - Proposed changes to default settings (DefaultSettings.php) (tracking)
    • phab:T57966 - Add a "You've not saved your changes" dialogue
    • phab:T19496 - JS: Automatically hide "Your preferences have been saved." message when changing preferences
    • phab:T33882 - Ensure consistency of how special pages [et al.] switches can be saved (tracking)
    • phab:T20524 - Preferences: unify filter options of recent changes, new pages, watchlist, recent changes linked
    • phab:T58561 - Changes to user preferences should be automatically saved
User profile
  • phab:T65577 - Move "Email options" user preferences from "User profile" tab to separate "Notifications" tab in MediaWiki core
  • phab:T65581 - Move "Time offset" user preference in MediaWiki core to "User profile" tab
  • phab:T65987 - Change "Basic information" section of Special:Preferences into "Account management"
  • phab:T57905 - user preference to override collapsing of sidebar items in Vector skin
Date and time
  • CLDR bugs
  • User prefs
    • phab:T65582 - Move "Date format" user preference in MediaWiki core to "Appearance" tab
    • phab:T65581 - Move "Time offset" user preference in MediaWiki core to "User profile" tab
    • phab:T65580 - Change "Date format" part of "Date and time" user preferences into a drop-down menu
    • phab:T32857 - Show more user-friendly timestamps (relative like "7 hours ago" instead of absolute)
  • phab:T65576 - Move "Pending changes" ("Edit review" from FlaggedRevs) user preferences into the "Editing" user preferences tab
  • phab:T32795 - "Show edit toolbar" preference is confusing
Recent changes
  • Search bugs
    • phab:T40395 - It should be possible to choose the default search (tab/profile) on Special:Search
    • phab:T24774 - Should be possible to customize the search profiles
    • phab:T18830 - (WONTFIX) Search option "open in new window"
    • phab:T63061 - CirrusSearch: Add advanced search option to only search local files
  • [figure out a way to make this section less ugly...]
    • phab:T54817 - Handle "Search" --> "Advanced options" section of Special:Preferences on Special:Search itself
Beta features
Edit review (Pending changes)
  • FlaggedRevs bugs
    • phab:T65576 - Move "Pending changes" ("Edit review" from FlaggedRevs) user preferences into the "Editing" user preferences tab
Upload Wizard

See also[edit]

Survey on existing preferences: Requests for comment/Core user preferences.

Examples, docs, quicklinks.


  • Compare other sites and software, for ideas. Eg.
    • Reddit/+RES,
    • Photoshop,
    • Chrome/IE/FF (eg. FF's [About:Config] page and "Advanced" prefs-tab),
  • Re-read m:Research:User preferences


See also Talk:Requests for comment/Redesign user preferences.