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Choosing a Responsive MediaWiki Skin

Updated: Feb 19

If you're about to start your own MediaWiki project or spice up an existing wiki,

some of the following points may be helpful.

We will talk about "skins" - freely distributed sets of code and resources - that

will determine the appearance of MediaWiki, and about the factors important for

choosing the right one. We are developers and will focus primarily on the

technical and conceptual aspects of the choice.

The design should match the content, not the other way around

Many people think of the Wikipedia interface when they think of MediaWiki: a large number of links that support the specific workflows of readers, commentators, editors, moderators, administrators.

The phenomenon of the world's largest online encyclopedia is so inspiring that

many people or companies using Mediawiki want their wiki to resemble Wikipedia.

vector wikipedia's default skin
Vector - Wikipedia's default skin

vector wikipedia's skin with adjustments
Vector - Wikipedia's default skin. Registered users can adjust look and feel in their account preferences.

The purpose and subject matter of a wiki, the nature of its content, and the

intended user experience may require a more or less extensive adaptation of

MediaWiki skin. Or maybe you just want to make your wiki unique?

About 70 different skins are listed on and most of them

were created by enthusiasts and/or professional developers with the

goal of:

  • improving responsiveness

  • making interface cleaner

  • adding emotions

  • matching wiki content

Since it makes sense to make your wiki look great and distinct, these skins should

generally be viewed as templates for your own design. Therefore, ease of setup is