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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    $\begingroup$ Hey Jon. Could you include a screenshot of the new look in your post so others "know what they're getting themselves into?" Maybe a quick glance is enough to get someone excited to try the new look or to definitively decide they don't want to bother... $\endgroup$ Nov 20, 2018 at 21:57
  • $\begingroup$ @theforestecologist: I recommend people sign into the beta if they think they'll have feedback for two reasons: 1) Everyone will get the new theme in a few weeks, so you might as well get used to it now, and 2) a big part of the the theme is how it behaves when you change the size of your window and interact with the site. A static screenshot isn't so useful. If you want to get an idea of what it's like and don't want to change the setting, look at the sites that are already public. $\endgroup$ Nov 20, 2018 at 22:27

4 Answers 4

  • It looks strange that the main site header (ie the logo) is smaller than the sub-header "Top Questions". Compare with the old design. When viewing individual questions, the same applies to their titles.
  • I prefer the darker greens of the old design. The new design looks washed out / faded.
  • The "Top Questions" text is almost black. Too black. Nearly all other text is a lighter grey or green.
  • The "Ask Question" and "Active"/"Featured"/etc buttons look out of place. As far as I can tell, the green of the "Ask Question" button and the grey background of the "Active" button are not used anywhere else on the site. They are also positioned in such a way that there is a lot of wasted space around both them and the "Top Questions" header. In the old design, the looked like they belonged. At the very least, perhaps the "Active"/"Featured"/etc buttons need to be on the same line as the "Top Questions" header and "Ask Question" button.
  • Disabling the left navigation bar (thank you for this option) condenses the links into a hamburger menu in the top navigation bar. However, the top line of this menu button is one pixel narrower than the bottom two. This may sound silly, but it is noticeable. This is on Edge in Windows 10, if it makes a difference. If I zoom-in with the browser, the button is rendered correctly.

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  • $\begingroup$ I don't have a problem with "Top Questions" being too black, but I don't like the seemingly "misplaced" buttons. The un-visited post titles in the list need a darker font colour as well. $\endgroup$
    – vkehayas
    Nov 23, 2018 at 9:31
  • $\begingroup$ So, what you can't see in your image is the left navigation, as you've disabled it. The text of the left nav is set on a network-wide level and is black. Lightening the background color allows the teal to continue down the sides of the page. If we left the darker color, we'd have to cut it off where the white Questions section starts, as we did on Bicycles. Even as is, I think the contrast between the text and the background is a bit low. So, when it comes to the color change, I guess those are your considerations. :) I think that, with time, the colors will look less faded. $\endgroup$
    – Catija
    Nov 28, 2018 at 23:40
  • $\begingroup$ Feel free to let us know your thoughts. :) $\endgroup$
    – Catija
    Nov 28, 2018 at 23:44
  • $\begingroup$ @Catija Thanks for your response; that decision makes some sense to me now. The thing that looks most strange to me is how small logo text is. Can this be fixed? $\endgroup$
    – canadianer
    Nov 29, 2018 at 0:35
  • $\begingroup$ The height of the header bar is fixed - we can increase it as long as it still fits in the header... so a little bit (if we make it around the same height as the icon) but not much. $\endgroup$
    – Catija
    Nov 29, 2018 at 3:54
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    $\begingroup$ @Catija Sites like Chemistry, for example, don’t have this problem. Perhaps our logo is not helped by being lowercase and having descenders, but it really does look strange. Any enlargement would help, but perhaps it needs to be capitalized. $\endgroup$
    – canadianer
    Nov 29, 2018 at 4:56

It's OK, but:

  • The background design has lost its contrast and is indeed faded as stated by one of our rocks on this site, canadianer;
  • Something that has been bothering me for a long time (i.e., not just in this new theme) - on many displays, especially pc monitors, the yellow-highlighted questions (favorited tags etc) are barely discernable from the 'regular' questions; this is also a contrast issue. It's only on my mobile device that colors are displayed in sufficient contrast. With a new theme this might be a good moment to change that, especially given the comments by canadianer. Contrast should be maximized, especially given that low-vision people may also wish to enjoy our site.
  • $\begingroup$ Could you include a screenshot of the contrast issue on mobile? They certainly should be visible, but being too strong a contrast might interfere with reading the question title. $\endgroup$ Nov 26, 2018 at 23:10
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ We've had a few requests to revisit how we indicate the favorite tags and I think this is something we'll be addressing as we look at some accessibility concerns next year. Indicating these questions with color alone (particularly one so difficult to see) is problematic for many users. $\endgroup$
    – Catija
    Nov 28, 2018 at 23:37

I'm not a fan of the changes to the design, but I like the changes to the behaviour when window size is modified.

tl;dr: Please leave the design as it is and just modify the resizing behaviour.

The only visual aspect that I like about the new design is that the top bar stretches wider (but why does the Search box stay the same size?). All other visual changes make the design less appealing than it is currently for me. Specifically I dislike: smaller title icon and oversized "Top Questions" heading, smaller patterned top-bar background (the bit behind the title icon), paler background colour, pale link colours (barely any contrast to the background), square-shaped accepted-answer highlight, square borders around non-accepted answers, painfully green accepted-answer highlight, button-look of the Active/Hot/New nav. The last few nicely cooperate to make the site look as boxy as the 2000s

I appreciate that I can at least hide the side navigation.

I don't see any reason why you can't make the changes to the resizing behaviours and leave the colours, font sizes, and borders/shapes as they are.

  • $\begingroup$ If we only had one site to consider, leaving the design mostly intact and changing the behavior when resizing would be possible. But there are something like 60 different designs that needed to be changed. At that point, our only options are to standardize aspects of the design that aren't standard or not update sites with fancy designs. $\endgroup$ Nov 26, 2018 at 21:58
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for the quick response. I'm a fan of getting things tidier so standardising the theming across SE is fine with me. It's a shame that the decisions were in favour of what to me are bad design choices that make SE appear clunkier overall. Still, the page you link explicitly lists some of the elements I've mentioned as themable, mostly the colour-related aspects. I don't know who exactly chose the new ones but this is to ask them to leave them as they are. $\endgroup$
    – Armatus
    Nov 26, 2018 at 22:25
  • $\begingroup$ See my comment on canadianer's answer regarding the background color... for the accept circle, let me look and see if we can change that and the link colors - which should still be legible and we should be differentiating between visited and unvisited. $\endgroup$
    – Catija
    Nov 28, 2018 at 23:44

My current thoughts:

  1. I agree with other responses that the new Ask Question button location is, well, silly given all the "wasted" white space it generates.

  2. 80% of my navigation on the site is via the buttons (Questions, Tags, Users,....Ask Question) currently found on the main site header (i.e., on the green background), so removal of those buttons would be quite an annoying transition for me.

    • I assume their removal was to account for other site's more intricate title bars??
  3. I agree with @canadianer that an ability to hide the left menu is desirable since I find it robs too much screen space.

  4. I also wish to repeat other's concern about the contrast of new color schemes.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ The navigation was moved to the sidebar because we intend to add more navigation options over time. You can collapse the left navigation if you like. $\endgroup$ Nov 29, 2018 at 17:06
  • $\begingroup$ Are there plans to return our background color back to its previous, less washed-out shade of green? I ask because a number of folks mentioned it, but it seems to still have been pushed through in the wider release of the update. Thanks, @Jon. $\endgroup$ Dec 8, 2018 at 4:07
  • $\begingroup$ @Jon The rest of the washed out colors also seems to have been pushed through. Just hope you guys are considering adjusting this! Thanks $\endgroup$ Dec 8, 2018 at 21:53
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ At the moment, we are working on other issues on other sites. If I might suggest starting a new meta question on the topic, as Catija suggested on Meta Stack Exchange? $\endgroup$ Dec 11, 2018 at 18:32

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