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Vector 2022 is a desktop skin developed between 2019 and 2023 by the Wikimedia Foundation Web team with the goal of making the interface more welcoming and usable for readers and maintaining utility for existing editors.
It introduces changes to the navigation and layout of the site, adds persistent elements such as a sticky header and Table of Contents, and makes changes to the overall styling of the page. As of early January 2023, the skin was the default on more than 300 projects of various sizes, accounting for about 1.5 billion page views per month. Before the deployment on English Wikipedia, it was the most popular non-default skin, with more active editors using it than any other non-default skin (Monobook, Timeless, etc).
A 2022 Request for Comment saw the English Wikipedia community raise opposition, particularly over the fixed-width layout. The skin was updated in response to this. On January 18, 2023, the skin was turned on as the default on the desktop site. Users of non-default skins (Monobook, Timeless, etc.) did not see any changes.
How to turn off the new skin
With an account
You can turn off the Vector 2022 skin in two ways, but an account is required for both:
- From the left menu (sidebar), select the link “Switch to old look”, then select your preferred alternate skin (Note: the previous default skin was Vector legacy (2010)). After that, click on the save button at the bottom of the page.
- Open the user menu from the button at the top right corner of the page, then select preferences. Go to the appearance tab on the preferences page and scroll to the Skin section on the preferences page. Then, click on the checkbox next to your preferred alternate skin (Note: the previous default skin was Vector legacy (2010)). After that, click on the save button at the bottom of the page.
Creating an account is quick, easy, and has multiple benefits for both readers and contributors. Click here to learn why and how you can create an account.
Without an account
Readers who are not logged in can view a single page in Vector 2010 by adding
?useskin=vector to its URL. There are several browser add-ons to do this automatically:
- For Chrome:
- For Firefox:
How to expand the width of the new skin
You can expand and contract the width of the new skin in two ways:
- In a wide browser window, click or tap the toggle that appears in the margin at the bottom-right corner of the window.
- Open your preferences. Go to the appearance tab and scroll down to skin preferences. Uncheck the enable limited width mode checkbox. Note that, if needed, you can also set this as a global preference.
For more information on customizations, please check out our FAQ.
How can editors change and customize this skin?
It is possible to configure and personalize this skin. The Web team are happy to work with community members 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. Check out the Desktop Improvements repository for a list of currently available customizations and changes, or add your own.
What if I see a bug?
To report a bug, go to Wikipedia:Village pump (technical), and join an existing discussion or create a new section.
To request a feature, or for general questions and feedback about the project, please reach out to us on MediaWiki.org.
Compatibility with user scripts and gadgets
Thanks to the work of many community developers, the new skin is compatible with the most-frequently used gadgets and user scripts. That said, 100% compatibility cannot be guaranteed. If your gadget and script is experiencing issues, check out the repository for an alternate solution. If none is available, contact the Web team on MediaWiki.org.
Introduction to the Vector 2022 skin
The objective of the skin is to make the interface more welcoming and comfortable for readers, and useful for advanced users, on desktop. To do this, the skin introduces changes to the navigation and layout of the site, adds persistent elements such as a sticky header and table of contents to make frequently used actions easier to access, and 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 spent in scrolling, searching, and navigating – all of which can be interpreted as creating an easier reading experience. With a few minor exceptions, Vector 2022 does not remove any functionality available on the Vector legacy skin.
The Vector 2022 skin on English Wikipedia
Discussions on the new skin began in 2020 with initial research and interviews with different communities, including English Wikipedians. This community was also involved over the five prototype feedback rounds for the individual features of the skin, as well as in conversations on the Village Pump, the project talk page, live office hours, and off-wiki groups on Discord and Telegram.
In mid-2022, most of the discussions focused on improving the skin and preparing it for deployment. The decision to adopt the skin was made through a Request for Comment. The outcome of this process was to create a control for customizing page width before proceeding with deployment. In November 2022, this control was enabled. From November 2022 to January 2023, the community and the Web team worked on other improvements suggested in the RfC and prepared for the deployment itself.
- Signpost, 24 April 2022: Desktop Improvements project nearing an end
- Signpost, 31 August 2022: English Wikipedia community discussing the deployment of the Vector (2022) skin
A very brief timeline
- 2019 – Project kickoff at Wikimania Stockholm.
- 2020 – Skin launch on first set of pilot wikis, including French, Farsi, and Hebrew Wikipedias.
- 2020–2022 – Development and scaling in continued collaboration with communities.
- May 2022 – January 2023 – Banners introducing logged-in users to the skin are run.
- July 2022 – Discussion on process for the adoption of the skin on English Wikipedia. During this time, blockers for deployment and feature requests were identified and agreed upon by English Wikipedians. It was also decided that a Request for Comment must be held.
- August–September 2022 – Collaborative drafting of the RfC for the adoption of the skin on English Wikipedia.
- September–October 2022 – RfC on the adoption of the skin on English Wikipedia. The RfC concluded that the skin may be adopted provided that a way to configure the page width is available for logged-in and logged-out users.
- November 2022 – A toggle that allows for the configuration of the page width was made available for logged-in and logged-out users using browser windows that are 1,600 pixels wide or more. For logged-out users, the toggle state is not persistent from page to page and must be clicked on each page.
- December 2022 – The deployment date was set and discussed.
- January 18, 2023 – Deployment of the skin as the default.
- January 19 – March 16, 2023 – RfC regarding the default use of the skin on English Wikipedia. It concluded there was no consensus to roll back the default skin to Vector 2010, and rough consensus to make unlimited width the default width.
- Week of January 23, 2023 – Deployment of the page tools feature for logged-in users.
- April–August 2023 – Engineering work on building preference-like architecture for logged-out users
- July 2023 – onward – work on Accessibility for reading
What's going to happen now, after the deployment?
The Web team is committed to continuing work on the desktop experience. This will include developing features on the Vector 2022 skin and maintaining the Vector legacy skin.
The new focus will be on making the site more accessible while reading and easier to customize. Web will work on:
- Providing more options for font size and typography (currently, these are only available on mobile) and improving our default typography
- Building out a dark mode
Both of these will be available on desktop and mobile, and customizable for all logged-out and logged-in users.