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Update - the theme and layout is now live for everyone.

Thanks for your feedback in this process. If there's additional feedback, please feel free to add to the answers below.


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! We're hoping to get feedback from you before rolling it out to everyone permanently. 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, it will take a few minutes to go into effect).

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.

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

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 you may notice, 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).

Thanks so much for your constructive feedback!

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  • 7
    \$\begingroup\$ I disabled the beta view a few moments after enabling it. I suggest that you track how many people do that, SE-wide, as a reflection of preference. \$\endgroup\$ – Scott Seidman Sep 4 '18 at 16:18
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    \$\begingroup\$ I'd love to have the choice for a dark themed version of EE.SE. I do not like black on white or well anything on white. \$\endgroup\$ – Arsenal Sep 5 '18 at 6:49
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    \$\begingroup\$ Really? How much feedback could you need? You already forced multiple poorly-designed features down the throat of the Stack Overflow guinea pigs without asking the community there. And so they gave floods of feedback, not much of it positive. Maybe start reading SO meta and SE meta, before asking every other site to give the very same feedback yet again. \$\endgroup\$ – Lundin Sep 6 '18 at 14:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Lundin I'm not looking for feedback about the left nav or responsive design. I'm looking for feedback related to the specific elements of this site's design such as the link colors, logo, background image, etc. This is specifically why I linked to those MSE posts for feedback related to the network-wide changes. We're aware that this update isn't popular and we've done our best to explain why it's necessary. That doesn't mean that we aren't interested in addressing the specific site concerns that exist regarding the change in the actual implementation. \$\endgroup\$ – Catija Sep 6 '18 at 14:44
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Catija Meaning that if the users of EE don't like the left nav or responsive design, they can get lost? Because they are currently giving feedback about the left nav and responsive design, in the answers below. They likely haven't seen it before, as it appeared just now with this beta test. Maybe you should clarify in the question which kind of feedback that is welcome and which kind that will be ignored no matter what we say? \$\endgroup\$ – Lundin Sep 6 '18 at 14:49
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Lundin I've responded to all but one of the answers here and only one of the answers relates to left nav or responsive design and what they're asking for in that answer already exists because we are listening. All of the other issues are specific to the site design of this site or (in the case of MarkU's answer) to the top bar which is related to neither this site nor the left nav/responsive design changes or (one of Dave Tweed's answers) an urelated bug already reported on MSE. \$\endgroup\$ – Catija Sep 6 '18 at 14:53
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Catija List of most down-voted questions in the history of SE. "Live: Left nav, new theming and responsiveness" is the 3rd most down-voted one. If we filter out questions about ToS and licensing, it is the single most down-voted question of all time. And yet no rollback, pretend like nothing happened, roll out these features that nobody wants, not only to SO but to the whole network. This is upsetting. \$\endgroup\$ – Lundin Sep 6 '18 at 14:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ No one is pretending like nothing happened, @Lundin. We've done a poor job of explaining why these changes are necessary and we're trying to address that part of it, but they are necessary and they will move forward. We have several years' worth of feature requests that can't be implemented because we have to deal with 60+ vastly different LESS baselines that regularly break every time we add or change something. Unifying this into one baseline is necessary for us to move forward without spending all of our time fixing stuff that broke. \$\endgroup\$ – Catija Sep 6 '18 at 15:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ScottSeidman: great that you were able to. I wanted to look at it, and then disable it, which didn't work. Box is unchecked, still the new stuff that is screaming into my eyes :( \$\endgroup\$ – PlasmaHH Sep 7 '18 at 9:47
  • \$\begingroup\$ @PlasmaHH the change can take a while to stick. \$\endgroup\$ – Scott Seidman Sep 7 '18 at 12:19
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    \$\begingroup\$ There's an entire header for "How do I enable it?", where is the header for "How do I disable it?"? \$\endgroup\$ – Harry Svensson Sep 18 '18 at 23:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ I for one enjoy our new robot overlords \$\endgroup\$ – Voltage Spike Sep 20 '18 at 5:11
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Catija I'm sorry, but many of them are not necessary as several people have already called out. For example, the badges, which are still unique for each site, are part of the same image resource as the headers, vote buttons, accept buttons, etc. The absurd claim that it takes an obscene amount of effort to maintain such site personalities does not even pass the smell test. \$\endgroup\$ – forest Sep 21 '18 at 1:36
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Links have returned to being blue. ~Catija

Colors have changed, and not for the better. For some reason, names and certain clickable links are now bright orange-red (and in some cases, underlined) instead of the much more subtle blue.

Given that the site in general uses red to indicate things that need attention, this is way too much red on the page. Please switch the colors back.

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    \$\begingroup\$ The contrast of white to red is terrible, blue is much easier on the eyes. \$\endgroup\$ – Voltage Spike Sep 4 '18 at 16:03
  • \$\begingroup\$ As a note, link underlining was added intentionally to make links easier to find, particularly for users with accessibility concerns. \$\endgroup\$ – Catija Sep 5 '18 at 15:13
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Catija: That's fine, although it seems to apply only to links in the body of a post. All of the other "system" links (user names, command/status links like "add a comment" or "edited on ...", etc.) are not underlined at all, so I'm not convinced that the intended benefit is obtained. I would not object to the underlining if the color were fixed, but with the garish red color, it seems completely superfluous. \$\endgroup\$ – Dave Tweed Sep 5 '18 at 15:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ Page elements that are links don't have underlines, that's true. It's generally going to be more difficult to see a link in a block of text, particularly when the text color isn't very different, so the underlining helps with that in a way that's less necessary with other links. Regardless, I don't think reverting the color to blue will be a problem. Red was chosen because it's the primary color of the site (logo, buttons, etc) but there are blue elements, like the graphing paper background. \$\endgroup\$ – Catija Sep 5 '18 at 16:03
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    \$\begingroup\$ A link that blends in is a good link! Having links that stands out makes it more annoying to read something with a lot of references, and having a lot of references makes a good answer great. I think it's counterproductive to make links stand out more. People who have a hard time seeing links can use CSS for what it was designed to enable: Personal customization. Presumably they will be used to doing that, since some people need 4 x magnification, some can only see white-on-black text, etc. \$\endgroup\$ – pipe Sep 6 '18 at 14:05
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Please make the "magnifying glass" icon in the search box visible without requiring user to click there.

Currenlty the SVG icon iconSearch is hidden unless the user finds the search box and clicks there. If the user never notices the word "search" then the icon never becomes visible, and many users need to see that icon to notice the search field. The search icon is much more prominent than the word "search", which often is ignored (banner blindness?), as evidenced by this recent meta discussion initiated by a new contributor unable to find the existing search box:

Why doesn't StackExchange have a search feature?

Why doesn't electronics.stackexchange.com have a search q/a (site wide) feature? Or am I missing it? I see the "Tags" search, but is q/a posters didn't create a tag for the specific word/phrase you are searching site for, it seems time consuming to try to find. – Koldwater

Don't I feel silly. :) Even after viewing screen shot, I did not spot it. Then I read comment ".. top of every single page", and sure enough there it was. A slightly lighter grey square on the dark grey bar, with an even lighter grey font in it stating "Search on Electrical Engineering". Just a case of worst GUI design practice tripped me up. :) Would be better if search field was much lighter grey, with black text for some contrast to differentiate and make more noticeable. A little search icon on top right with other tools would help too, or some kind of design standard to help. – Koldwater May 8 at 23:18

The real question is why isn't the search feature prominent enough. We want new users to find the search bar without any difficulty, don't blame the user when this is a ux issue. Most sites have a magnifying glass icon in the search box. I think electronics used to have that icon but it somehow dropped off in the last redesign. – MarkU May 7 at 22:40 [note; after posting this comment I discovered that the search icon does still exist, but is hidden.]

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    \$\begingroup\$ This is valuable feedback but it actually is pre-existing to this update. It relates to the behavior of the top bar, not the site redesign and may be better suggested on Meta Stack Exchange as its own feature request. \$\endgroup\$ – Catija Sep 2 '18 at 2:37
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I dislike the left menu bar. It's a hug waste of space for tabs that almost NEVER get pressed. This is particularly bad on small tablet screens (I know -- there's an app, but it's pretty useless IMO).

I understand that vertical space, the way it used to be, is also valuable. Perhaps the new bar needs to be collapsible.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ sorry -- just noticed instructions saying left bar bashing should be restricted to the main site. I'll leave the answer up, as usability seems diminished. \$\endgroup\$ – Scott Seidman Sep 4 '18 at 14:02
  • \$\begingroup\$ Just an FYI -- I disliked the bar so much, I disabled the beta view moments after enabling it. If you could track how many people do that, it might provide some real information. \$\endgroup\$ – Scott Seidman Sep 4 '18 at 16:17
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    \$\begingroup\$ The new bar is collapsable! :D You can go to your user settings/preferences and move it into a hamburger element that will appear on the left. \$\endgroup\$ – Catija Sep 4 '18 at 16:30
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    \$\begingroup\$ I'm glad it's collapsible. It works OK, even on a tablet -- but it doesn't seem to free up space for the information, so much as for the ads! \$\endgroup\$ – Scott Seidman Sep 7 '18 at 12:22
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I didn't see this question earlier, and noticed this whole issue when you apparently inflicted the new design on us yesterday afternoon.

The immediate problem was that the browser window needed to be much wider than previously. That's obnoxious. Previously I could leave the browser window alone. It was sized so that another specific app could fit next to it nicely. That worked for just about all web sites. Now I have to re-size between SE and everything else. Did I mention how obnoxious that is?

I just found out that there is a new checkbox in my user profile to disable the left menus. I checked that, but now the buttons like QUESTIONS, USERS, and the like are gone completely! I have to click on the cryptic three horizontal stripes to get to that menu.

This sucks. Frequently used buttons like QUESTIONS should be a single click, permanently on the top banner. I don't mind if these become small icons, as long as hover-text explains them. Most icons are useless for explaining what they do, but I'll eventually get used to whatever you pick and where you place it. Just don't keep changing it.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ +1, especially for the single-click Questions button. \$\endgroup\$ – bitsmack Sep 20 '18 at 0:02
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Something like this is probably do-able. We have some horizontal distance limitations for small screens (remember this is responsive design that needs to work on everything from phone screens to 4K monitors) so there's a max width for the logo. This is less of an issue with the words stacked but it looks like we may be able to get some more height if we don't stack them.

The reduction in space for the site title results in a marginalized title/logo for the site. The reduced text size results in generic elements displaying as larger than the site title. See example image below:

enter image description here

From what I can see, this is the only site that uses a two-line format with the title. With the reduction in vertical size available, this hurts our logo more than most. The result is that the branding and unique identity of this site are weaker than the generic beta site template.

I think the following minor changes could address these issues:

  • Crop the tilted diode in the logo closer to the circle. This will improve the ratio of "recognizable element" to "total vertical space".
  • Make the title "Electrical Engineering" fit on one line instead of two. This will allow a larger text

Here is an example, note that I am not a graphics designer, and just a simple EE editing the existing SVG. I am cognisant that our site title is long, but I am trying to optimize the space usage: enter image description here

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    \$\begingroup\$ This has been adjusted. It's not quite as big but it's definitely bigger than it was. I think it's now the same height as the old logo. \$\endgroup\$ – Catija Sep 12 '18 at 18:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Catija Thanks, I think that helps quite a bit. I bet site specific graphics changes weren't on the work list, so I'm glad they got worked in. \$\endgroup\$ – W5VO Sep 13 '18 at 3:12
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Unfortunately, the new theme code does not fix this new bug I've encountered recently: Arrow keys stop scrolling after editing a post

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I find the watch tag button really harsh on my eyes.

enter image description here

enter image description here

The combination of red on white with a nasty pink fill makes these buttons distracting, and even downright annoying to me.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Especially since we all learned: "Under ALL circumstances - NEVER press the red button!" \$\endgroup\$ – Arsenal Sep 4 '18 at 15:57
  • \$\begingroup\$ The difficulty here is that we base button colors (and the OP background indicator color, which is also pink) on the primary button color. For this site, that's red. It's a cascade... so to change this we have to change the color of the Ask Question button. The theme here is pretty monochromatic (red, white, black)... the only other possibility is blue to match the grid pattern of the background but that's less than obvious. \$\endgroup\$ – Catija Sep 6 '18 at 3:37
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    \$\begingroup\$ So, "too late"?? It feels like we're being asked for our input on this fairly late in this process. I know next to nothing about web design, if I were post morteming this with a team, I'd try to figure out just when we had the opportunity to identify this as a problem. \$\endgroup\$ – Scott Seidman Sep 7 '18 at 12:21
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Catija a big blue button is less than obvious? How so? And why not make the theme less monochromatic if additional colours would help? Maybe a fresh PCB green would be fitting. Reducing the red amount might help make EE feel less aggressive :P \$\endgroup\$ – Arsenal Sep 13 '18 at 13:21
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If it ain't broken, don't fix it.

At least give me the choice to disable it.

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The Reputation frame in the user-profile's Activity tab doesn't shape properly on iPads (at least, not on mine).

This is in Safari, with the site set to "full site" mode (which I strongly prefer over "mobile" mode). It renders the same in both landscape and profile.

reputation frame

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  • \$\begingroup\$ We're working on a collection of bugs related to the user profile pages - they're not actually related to this theme update - or they shouldn't be - as we haven't made the profile pages responsive yet. Hopefully when we fix the other issues, this will be fixed, too. \$\endgroup\$ – Catija Oct 15 '18 at 19:44

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