I also believe that iterating on Vector is highly preferable to introducing
a new skin. That said, to try and be as fair as I can to Brandon, he
publicly declared last year at Wikimania London, "Winter is not a skin".
While I didn't understand his explaination of what it was, observationally
it appeared to be the user interface equivalent of a futurist predicting a
few years into the future in reasonable detail. Some of it will end up
being true, some will not. My understanding is that
the Winter implementation was of the semi-functional prototype variety
and little or none of the design work was based on usability research of
Vector, the status quo.
In contrast, Vector really is a skin that was implemented specifically for
production use and is now a battle tested platform from which to build
upon. Also, the UX improvements that were made over Monobook, the status
quo at the time, were based on usability research. This is a practice we
should continue with for future changes.
I know that it's sometimes exciting to people to make dramatic reveals of
proposals for sweeping changes. It's also fun to get excited about
them. However, this grand-unveiling boil-the-ocean approach never works out
in practice. It unnecessarily strains design, developement and community
engagement efforts. It is wasteful and wreckless. It is arrogant and
ignorant. It's not who we are, and it's not how we do things.
Even Vector was based heavily on Monobook, and in every way in which early
versions of Vector deviated from Monobook, without just cause, it was
"fixed" to be more similar. This was not wrong. Making arbitrary changes
was wrong. Starting from scratch is even worse.
We should carefully continue along the path of iterating on Vector. We
should gradually converge it's styling and implementation with that of OOjs
UI. We should continue improving usability and accessibility on a variety
of form factors. We should perform research and base changes on the
findings it produces. This will enable us to move forward with minimal
cost, and far less drama.
On Monday, July 20, 2015, MZMcBride <z(a)mzmcbride.com> wrote:
Amir E. Aharoni wrote:
Yes, I remember Winter. It was a nice prototype.
Vector needs love, for sure. But my impression is that the Wikimedia
Foundation design team has neither the focus nor the commitment to provide
this support. This means you'll need volunteers, particularly ones capable
of working with the Wikimedia community to modernize the interface without
annoying or angering users (readers and editors alike) in the process.
My personal view is that a gradual approach is preferable to a large and
sudden redesign. There's now an experimental responsive mode in the Vector
skin. I'm very cautiously optimistic about its path forward.
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