Wikimania 2007 talk: “Visual identity and Visual Consistency of the Wikipedias”

Talk: “Visual identity and Visual Consistency of the Wikipedias” by Guillaume Paumier. Link to talk’s page.

Wikimedia names and brands.


  • One colour per project (e.g. wikibooks one colour for all languages that wikibooks supports)
  • Official name and localised motto and transcription.

Choosing good logos:

  • Good message
  • Good graphic quality
  • Fitting in the visual identity of the organisation. Pertaining to each other, yet unique.

Stats on other wikis:

  • Around 85% of wikis are like the Wikipedia’s visual identity.
  • In 74% of installations only the logo is different.
  • The default is MediaWiki skin is Monobook, so most MediaWiki wikis look like Wikimedia sites, because it’s the default.

Want a different visual identity for Wikimedia wikis. Want to change the default layout.
Showed some proposed mock-ups for skins, as a starting point for discussions.

Designing a new skin is a challenge. The skin currently is rather overloaded / cluttered – has many links, disclaimers, interwiki links. Want to simplify the UI. Only 4.6% of visitors are editors, and most of the links are relevant to editors. Want perhaps to have a way of switching between viewing and editing mode.

Question of usability. Site needs to work well for everyone. Clean and simple UI, with easy discoverability.

  • Nav bar between the projects.
  • More visible links
  • Thematic consistency
  • Pull down JavaScript menu for actions.

Q & A afterwards:
Q: Why no pull-down menus currently?
A: Client compatibility issues, what happens if JavaScript is not enabled.

Idea of maybe having a small Wikimedia logo on the Nav Bar, to establish that these sites under the Wikimedia umbrella.

Q: How to proceed?
A: Some usability testing by a uni / college could be useful.

Add an experimental non-default test skin. Would be okay to add this to MediaWiki core.

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