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UPDATE - We've pushed this live for everyone now. Thanks to those who took the time to give feedback. Please do know, being live doesn't mean we can't address further changes for you! Write an answer if you find anything that needs addressing.


As part of implementing the new unified themes across the network, we're gradually rolling out updated site themes for each site. As of today, we have enabled your updated site theme for testing.

If you can't see it right now, that's by design! This is a very early test implementation of your design and we need your help finding issues with it before we make it live for everyone permanently. So, keep in mind, there will be things that need fixing! We'll address those things as we can.

If you'd like to review it, here's how:

How do I enable it?

Click here and check the "Beta test new themes" option. This will turn on the new theme for all sites that have one in testing, including this one. Here's more info on how to opt in. You can uncheck the box to revert to the older theme until the site is live for everyone. Note, while turning it on is immediate, it will take a few minutes to revert to the old view - but it will go through!.

What type of feedback do we need?

On this post: Bugs related to this site's design elements

Please help us look for issues/bugs related to the theme design and how we have mapped the old theme to the new. This needs to be done within the limits of the new unified theme.

This could include colors of sections of the design or text, problems with JavaScript add-ons (if applicable), the logo or top banner appearance or other artwork.

You can also feel free to ask questions about the new layout if you're unsure how to navigate it.

On Meta Stack Exchange: General concerns about left nav or theming

There are some things that are definitely changing everywhere and can't really be adjusted on a per-site basis. A few of them include:

  • Top banner is shorter in height, so some artwork has to be adjusted along with some logos.
  • Left Navigation is active everywhere (but can be collapsed into a menu by visiting your site preferences - instructions here).
  • Responsive layout is active, which lets the site adjust as browser widths change - no side scrolling (some pages haven't been updated, yet, though). For now, if you prefer the scrolling, you can disable this by clicking the "disable responsiveness" link in the footer.
  • Many site elements including tags and voting arrows are standardized across the network.
  • Link underlining is active. In an effort to make links more visible, they are now being underlined.

If you have concerns or issues regarding the left nav or the overall approach we are taking to theming, then this Meta Stack Exchange post is the right place for feedback.

As I mentioned earlier, there are some unique design elements like voting arrows and tags that are being standardized in this process. Keeping these custom elements makes our ability to maintain the sites too complex and, while we're very sad to see them go, we're in a difficult position of needing to make the site designs work together so that we can continue to address feature requests and bugs that will make your Q&A experience better. This is addressed in a Meta Stack Exchange post if you want more detail.

What new themes?

If you're like, "What the heck are you talking about?", then you should read the Meta Stack Exchange post entitled Rollout of new network site themes (and maybe the posts it links to for the full background). To follow along with the rollout of these new themes, go here.

Thanks so much for your constructive feedback!

Oh, Who am I?

If you don't know me, I'm one of the Community Managers here at Stack Exchange. I'm here to listen to your input and convey it to our Design team for responses and fixes to bugs. I'll do my best to respond to your concerns and explain whether changes we've made are bugs that can be changed or if they're by design and why.

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    tip for those who will get shocked after left nav falls on them (like it happened before at MSE and SO): How can I remove or hide the left navigation bar? – gnat Sep 19 '18 at 9:00
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    Guys, the downvote button is not a "I don't like this topic" button. If we like this or not, the new site theme is coming, and Meta is the correct place to ask for feedback. If you have objections, please write an answer or a comment, but don't downvote without letting us know why. – Doc Brown Sep 19 '18 at 13:22
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    @DocBrown here is a possible explanation --> "since they stopped doing things of use to me, and only keep making my life harder I feel inclined to make their lives harder in return..." – gnat Sep 19 '18 at 15:38
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    @gnat I'm not quite sure how downvoting this makes our lives any harder... If anything, when these posts hit -8 (which hasn't happened here) and disappear from the active questions list, it makes the users less able to stay informed, since many people don't see the link in the sidebar. The change is happening, you don't have to be happy about it, but impeding this post from being seen hurts those who may actually not know what's going on much more than it hurts us. – Catija Sep 19 '18 at 15:46
  • @Catija I don't see reason to worry because featured tag keeps it prominent no matter how people vote, I saw that with original left nav announcement that stayed widely visible at score -10... -20... -30 etc – gnat Sep 19 '18 at 15:52
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    @gnat as I said, many, many very experienced users - including myself - are blind to the right nav column entirely and do not see the featured box or think to check it. I just had one of the highest-rep users on a site state as much and the post had been up for nearly three weeks but downvoted to -8. – Catija Sep 19 '18 at 16:14
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    so, you care about users and because of that, you want this upvoted. And I guess folks who voted down (5 of them so far), they don't care about users. I see – gnat Sep 19 '18 at 16:24
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    @gnat That's a bit of a leap. People who downvote, particularly on meta, do so for a variety of reasons. I even saw someone state that they downvote everything someone from staff posts on principle now. Users are welcome to vote as they wish. At this point, the post is at zero, so it'd take a lot of work for it to get below -8. My goal in my comments is to point out that downvotes won't prevent the change from happening but it will potentially make fewer users aware of the change and able to participate in the discussion, which would be a disservice to them. Not voting is another option. – Catija Sep 19 '18 at 16:28
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    downvote everything on principle, wow. Wonder if staff experimented with posting something that could be useful for these folks, that would be a neat test on how hard are their principles, would they vote down even in cases like that – gnat Sep 19 '18 at 21:09
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    Logo is too small. Overall, the new theme feels like it's unfinished. I like the new theme much better on Stack Overflow (where it flows in a coherent whole) than I do here. – Robert Harvey Oct 2 '18 at 19:59
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- The coffee cup is now white! The lettering for the site name is now larger and the monitors and mug are now sitting on a tabletop. Hopefully this fixes most of the concerns here. The placement of the logo is standardized across the network, and is currently positioned there by design. Thanks for the feedback! ~Catija

The new logo in the banner is a bit messed up. Coffee cups are usually solid, this one is partially transparent and lets the monitor shine through:

  • new logo:

    screenshot:

  • old logo (screenshot):

    enter image description here

(as seen with Firefox 62, also confirmed with Chrome)

Additional logo notes:

  • The lettering is very small, comparable with body text. Previously, the letters were as large as the question title. A slightly larger or heavier text would make the site more recognizable.

  • When the left column nav is not hidden, the logo is also very far to the left. Aligning it with the question title might look more balanced:

    suggestion:

    current state of affairs:

  • The monitors and cup previously sat on top of a “table”, the heavy black line. Now they are floating in the air. Aligning the logo with the page content (as in the above screenshot) would help, alternatively adding a similar surface to the logo might look better.

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    This should be an easy fix! Looks like we somehow missed the fill in the cup. I'll make sure this gets looked at. – Catija Sep 19 '18 at 16:30
  • Hey, nothing wrong with a good, hot cup of water to start the day off with :D – jinglesthula Sep 27 '18 at 19:55
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This is just terrible. You took about 1/5 of my screen for options I hardly ever use without an option to reduce this unsolicited waste to a thumb. The old way was perfect but if you must pee over something that other people established, there are better ways. Pull down menus would do just fine and bother no one.

Mind boggling!

  • Then change your preferences to make them into a pull-down menu. That is, there is an option to do that; it's just not visible on the main page. You have to go into your user preferences to do that. – Nicol Bolas Oct 6 '18 at 18:59
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    @Nicol Bolas OK thanks, that's a little better but now the options are just nowhere. And the whole page doesn't scale anymore, it is just a fixed size no matter how big my screen is (taking deep breath, counting...). It is like a bunch of hooligans just trampled over the design. This site had one of the best designed layouts I ever encountered on the web and now it looks like some rudimentary template in a mediocre everyone-can-make-a-website product. – Martin Maat Oct 6 '18 at 20:22
  • As far as I can tell, the old design never scaled. That is, it didn't automatically make the width big enough for any window. Not unless you were using some user-script to change its fixed-width. Indeed, one of the main points of the new design is that it scales down. That is, it has a maximum width, but it handles shrinking better. – Nicol Bolas Oct 6 '18 at 22:39
  • @Nicol Bolas I had the old page still on another computer and noticed it indeed stops growing at a certain pixel width. The rectangle around in the new design just makes it more apparent that it does and makes it look more constrained and narrow. – Martin Maat Oct 7 '18 at 7:02
  • I've never understood the reasoning behind websites that leave huge amounts of blank margins. About 1/3 of the page is just empty space on my monitor. – JimmyJames Oct 10 '18 at 14:37
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    @JimmyJames: It's a well-established principle of UX design that people can only read left-to-right so far before it becomes difficult/tiresome for them to do so. People have a tendency to lose the line they're reading when they try to jump to the next one. The longer they read, the worse it gets. While that width may differ from person to person, everyone has a width beyond which we just don't handle well. So having a maximum width allows the user to keep their browser at whatever size they prefer, while still getting the site in a readable fashion. – Nicol Bolas Oct 28 '18 at 2:25
  • @JimmyJames: This is also why, when print media tries to cram lots of words into a small space with small fonts, they usually resort to a multi-column layout, rather than excessively long lines. – Nicol Bolas Oct 28 '18 at 2:27
  • @NicolBolas I get that but there are other things on the page than just paragraphs of text. Just seems like a waste to me to leave a full third completely empty. – JimmyJames Oct 29 '18 at 14:38
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I think amon did a good job about pointing out issues with the SESE design.

I'd also like to highlight concerns when navigating between sites in the network, particularly Stack Overflow and any other site with the new theme: UX consistency across SE sites with the new layout / theme. This is not unique to this site, but there is a not-insignificant overlap between the SO user base and the potential user base of SESE. The same goes for a number of other SE sites. I feel that it's very important to make the experience consistent and familiar across all the sites, including making sure that things line up if you are switching between browser tabs to navigate the network.

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