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.
  • This site uses a Serif font but common elements across the network (headers, sidebars, buttons, tags, queues, etc) are now sans everywhere.
  • 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.


3 Answers 3


There are few things I like about the update, and some others I don't. I think overall the functionality is preserved and the rest are some design choices I will get used to (like I did with the 'old' design).

Let's start with something positive:

  • I like that the standardised vote buttons. That might be an unpopular opinion, but I always thought the old ones looked particularly odd. I know they were to represent something molecular, but with the small angle, it looked weird to me. They are gone now ... good riddance.
  • I also like that some of the style elements were kept, for example keeping the green and orange colour (not so much the rest, see below), the colourful lab items, the logo.
  • I kind of like that the head-band is smaller; I think it's less crowded, somewhat more cleaner.

Let's get to the complaining part:

  • I'm not a big fan of the left navigation, but it could be worse, and since you can collapse it, so I feel like I don't have to worry about that at all.

  • Even though I like the head-band, I have a few comments on that. As I said earlier, that's all just design, so I will get used to them eventually.

    • The logo looks like it is crammed in the corner. I personally would just make the benzene ring a bit smaller, so that there is a little more space top and bottom.
    • I personally prefer the left side of the lab items, it has more colour and is more movie-like.
      old head-band
      new head-band
    • The faint background drawings don't really fit anymore. Most the items in there are cut up beyond recognition, and because the background image (something like a noisy green) has been replaced by a plain colour they look more pronounced. While I liked the blackboard look of the old design, I don't think this is accomplished anymore. I guess the items need to be scaled more and better fit into the available space, or just be removed. Now it just looks like weird fragments.
  • The tag colour is just awful. Blue-ish green writing on green-ish blue background and it does not fit at all to the green. It used to be #696969 on #EFF3F6, which at least did not clash with the green and orange. I'd prefer it to be that colour again. (Btw. I like the more edgy look of the tags.)

  • The post-signature colour is just awful. That one is even worse than above. That faint orange/red/pink does not fit in with anything, least the green, but also with that blue-ish tag stuff, and the blue links.

  • I dislike almost everything that comes with links in the new design.

    • I really, really hate the decision to underline links. (Welcome back to the 90s?) I won't use text-links in my posts anymore.[1] This is distracting and an annoying fusing of words, especially when linking to a somewhat complicated title of another question on the site. The effort to make them more visible leads for me to just ignore them altogether. ("It's a link, i.e. supplementary information, can't be important.")
    • I don't think blue is a particularly good colour for links, but they somewhat used to blend in with the text just so you don't really need to worry about. Now with the obnoxious underlining they're just like needles to the eyes.
    • Visited links on the other hand appear almost black, now it just gives the impression of highlighting a passage of text. There are some users, who will certainly abuse this in the same way the abuse $MathJax$ and blockquotes as text-styling tools, because italic and bold and bold italic simply is not enough.[2]
    • The titles in the question list all have the same colour, a resurfaced bug, or purposely removed feature?[3]
    • I know that comments are not meant to stay, but if these are almost not readable because of the link-underlining they serve no purpose at all.
  • Homepage, or home tab or whatever you want to call it has the title 'Top Questions'. I think that was always there, but I just noticed how that makes not much sense. In any measure, these are not the top questions. And the header for that list is just asymmetric. The 'Ask Question' button moves around when you go to a question, not sure what the rationale for this is.
    You probably already know that the 'Questions - Unanswered' does the same as 'Unanswered'; the latter with more options for sorting.

  • The colour of the favourite questions is almost not noticeable.[4] (As it turns out one of my monitors is crappy.)

  • Is the right navigation also coming on the 'Tags' and 'Users' page?

In sum, sum, sum

I don't dislike it as much as the folks over at TeX.SX hated their updated design. I'm positive I'll get used to some of the features I currently find irritating (obviously not the underlined links). When the colours get fixed, I guess I can work as happily with it as now.

[1] Instead I will post them like this: https://www.facebook.com [2] Oh look at that, the MathJax is not underlined. [3] Design request - Can I please have the visited questions in a different color? [4] Can we change the contrast of questions which have at least one of our favourite tags?

  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for your effort here. We can definitely fix the title link colors so that there's some differentiation between visited and unvisited. The blue for links otherwise hasn't changed, though. Do you have a suggestion that might be preferable? I'd hate to change it six times before finding a better color. :) The Titles are a sort of navy (unvisited)/grey (visited). Tags we should be able to put back to something like what they were, grey. I think the blue was inspired by the site logo text, which is that same pale blue. $\endgroup$
    – Catija
    Commented Oct 15, 2018 at 20:22
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @Catija I now realised that the links always were blue, I guess with the underlining it is more pronounced and hence I only noticed it. The more I used the site, the more I'm getting used to it, and I actually don't think the default colour needs to change. However, the visited links are a bit too black. Maybe try a few shades lighter, right now they just look like underlined text to me. I'm not a designer, so I am a bit lost for words here. Would the link colour affect all the links, i.e. also the system links like 'edited ...', 'add a comment', user names, etc.? (cont.) $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 16, 2018 at 8:45
  • $\begingroup$ (cont.) More pressing is the colour of the titles. You say they change from navy to grey, but I cannot see any difference. This is an issue of functionality, so this should be fixed. Everything else is just framework. I personally prefer the grey style of the tags like we used to have them before. Now that you mentioned it, I see the colour in the logo. It still looks a bit weird to be, but I {w/c}ould live with it. I think for this I would choose the light/dark greys which are use for voting buttons/flags, just to keep it simple. (cont.) $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 16, 2018 at 8:46
  • $\begingroup$ (cont.) I do think the box of the post signature should have the same background as the tags, right now the orange-ish colour (like EP noted) reminds me of deleted stuff.// What about the faint background drawings? Is there anything that could be done? I guess a little darker colour and scaling them down a bit so that not most of it is cut up would be great. (I personally would not be opposed to letting them go altogether, too.) (fin.) $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 16, 2018 at 8:51
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @Catija Addendum: The orange/red looks especially bad and probably sends the wrong message in combination with the new contributor messages. It looks like a warning: i.sstatic.net/JDAP3.png $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 16, 2018 at 9:31
  • $\begingroup$ When I say they change from navy to grey, I mean in the current version (the older style). In the beta version they don't change much at all and we should be able to fix that pretty easily. There are two different link color groups we use here - the post titles and everything else. We can change both to be the same or we can make them different from each other. I'll ask about the background drawings, too. :) $\endgroup$
    – Catija
    Commented Oct 16, 2018 at 17:14
  • $\begingroup$ I've addressed most of these points, except for the different beakers. I've made that less a priority than the other items, new tags, refined header background / logo sizing. I've also switched to green instead of using the redish orangish color for the primary color of things. I've also refined the link colors. $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 4, 2018 at 20:54
  • $\begingroup$ @AaronShekey Thanks! Especially changing the orange to green. I think it fits in better. I agree that the images shouldn't be a priority. Links work better now. $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 5, 2018 at 13:51

The OP highlighting is uncomfortably close to the deleted-posts background

This is similar to what happened earlier on Academia, and presumably the fix should be identical. The theme update has changed the highlighting of the OP's username in the question, any self-answers, and comments, to a bright pink which is uncomfortably close to the deleted-post background:

enter image description here

The same points I made in Academia apply - a pink background is a functional element of the site, and using it for something else weakens that convention for little to no good reason.

And, as before, I imagine the reason this happened is the same,

the way we determine these colors is by looking at the primary button color (in this case a dark red/pink) and lightening it

but the fix on Academia suggests that it's possible to decouple the two.

  • $\begingroup$ I support this 100% (and more)! I have that in my list, too. $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 16, 2018 at 17:23
  • $\begingroup$ @Martin Ah. There was just so much stuff in your list that I missed it. Either way, the added context is probably still helpful. $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 16, 2018 at 18:41

I mostly agree with Martin - マーチン's remarks, however I feel the design is a step backwards stylistically. Perhaps making the navigation tabs in blue a more tiled appearance like the "ask question" button. Similarly, I think the sort tabs in green would look better if they were shaded differently from the background instead of bordered. I also think the arrangement could be condensed to something like the proposed arrangement. But this is all just my opinion.

Also in red is what appears to be part of a bipolar junction schematic. It seems a bit off-topic and I would prefer it was replaced with something else chemistry related (a halite lattice maybe?).

"Alpha"??? Header
Current Header

Beta header
Beta Header

proposed header
Proposed Header


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