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The newly designed user page has been online for a while now. It contains a lot of improvements and is really nice work overall. However, one aspect about doesn't cease to irk me: The first tab that people see when entering the profile. It has deteriorated massively from a design point of view, and now looks like a moderator control panel. It no longer feels like a user profile that one can show to a non-SO person.

Look for yourself - the left hand one is the new design, the right hand one is the old one. Which one would you rather show to a person who doesn't have a clue about Stack Exchange?

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To be perfectly clear: This isn't about cheese that's been moved. Many users use their SO profile as a kind of visiting card, and hence it should look good and polished. I think the new condensed design is a strain on the eyes, but I can live with it being shown to us power users - it arguably helps see everything at one glance.

But as a profile page, I think it's terrible and contains lots of clutter that is completely meaningless to a non-SO visitor.

Please add a new first tab to the page that non-SO users see by default and that is cleaner, less utilitarian, nicely designed presentation with more white space, much like the old one. Show the new design as the second tab, selected by default for existing users.

Context: this request was posted twice in User profile page - Feedback wanted and New user page - LIVE (both 10k only, as they have since been deleted). As suggested, I'm posting it again as a separate feature request.

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well, the old design was still a little busy IMO –  Jeff Atwood Jan 21 '12 at 12:29
Just for the record, I prefer the new look. I can't say why, it's just an aesthetic preference. –  Daniel Fischer Jan 21 '12 at 12:46
@Jeff I wouldn't object at all to a design that is even more polished than the old one. –  Pëkka Jan 21 '12 at 17:51
You're going to need to make an actual suggestion/mock-up before this gets a response, "simpler" is way too vague. For instance, I would call the new page much simpler as it's considerably smaller while showing the most relevant information from the old page (+ some new, often handy, data). Also remember anything removed will need some justification, very little was actually added in the new profile. –  Kevin Montrose Jan 21 '12 at 19:03
@Kevin you are aware that I am asking for a different presentation to non-SO users and SO users? –  Pëkka Jan 21 '12 at 21:23
@Pekka - didn't read this that way, it sounds like "change the summary tab, maybe leaving the old (new) one around somewhere"; guess that's not how you meant it. Mind, making it so sharing a link to my profile takes someone to an view I don't know about (as they aren't logged in, presumably, and I definitely am) seems really really confusing. –  Kevin Montrose Jan 21 '12 at 22:08
@Kevin (removed old comment because I misunderstood you) there could be a nice-looking, designer-y, white-spacey summary tab as the first tab, and the new power user one as the second one - with logged in users getting the second as default. I agree there's a little bit of potential for confusion, but if the polished tab is the first one, you can expect that sending a link may let other users end up there. It wouldn't be a question of two different views, but just of a different tab being selected. –  Pëkka Jan 21 '12 at 22:23
If you're clicking on someone's profile you're going from a summary to a detailed view, it's not designed for the non-SO user. It's designed for those looking for details about someone - this is very intentional. –  Nick Craver Jan 23 '12 at 16:31
@Nick so where would one currently send a non-SO user then? –  Pëkka Jan 23 '12 at 19:51
I guess the thing that I don't get is what you actually care about showing non-users that the new design interrupts. What is your criteria for a "user profile"? I get that the information is more condensed now, but I don't really get what the perceived impact is here. –  Tim Stone Jan 24 '12 at 11:25
@Tim it's really simple. Apart from the nice community and all that, the only benefit you get out of being active on SO is a track record that you can show when you need it (like when applying for a job, or looking to work on an Open Source project, or whatever). There needs to be a view of that track record that is optimized to look good and understandable to non-SO users. This used to be there (more or less) but was broken with the new profile page. –  Pëkka Jan 25 '12 at 11:46
What do you feel is not understandable about the new page? Is it just that there's too much information? The lack of specific emphasis on questions and answers? (not trying to be disagreeable, just trying to appreciate exactly where you're coming from) –  Tim Stone Jan 25 '12 at 13:48
@Tim yup, that's pretty much it - there's too much information; too much information that is relevant only to SE veterans (like the reputation graph); and there is not enough emphasis on questions and answers, which I think are the main data points for an outsider. Plus IMO, it looks uglier design-wise - that is justifiable for a control panel but not for a presentation –  Pëkka Jan 25 '12 at 15:26
In my opinion, when someone visits my SO profil, it will be to see my activity. So a summary with graphs, numbers... on the down part of the page is very interesting and useful. There is the Network profile for a cleaner visualisation of the user. –  Christopher Chiche Jan 29 '12 at 17:17

3 Answers 3

I disagree.

The top part, the part that actually matters for using one's "SO profile as a kind of visiting card," is better than the old one. The list information is grouped into domains: biographical info, visitation info, and stats.

The only clutter is from the stuff below. Which is unimportant for a profile card being used as a "visiting card". Indeed, having more stuff there forces new users to not look at it, because it's too busy. What they should be looking at is the profile info, not the various stats.

Furthermore, there are many uses of the profile page. I frequently visit my own profile page, to clean up old notifications, tracking rep, look at older questions/answers, switch more easily between the different sites I visit, etc. All of those things got easier with the new profile page, not harder.

So from my perspective, the new page is an improvement. It may be busier, but that's because it's more useful to the actual owner of the profile. And since new visitors didn't look at your big list of questions anyway, I don't see the problem.

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Not my downvote (as you make good points), but I disagree with your premise that the only interesting thing on the profile page is the bio info - arguably, what is really interesting on a site that is all about your contributions, is those contributions. Questions and Answers. Presenting those in a manner that a non-SOer can make sense of is my only desire. Re your page, as I say, this is about what gets presented to others who are not familiar with SO. I agree that the new profile page is a functional improvement for existing SO users, and if people like it, it should stay in place. –  Pëkka Jan 21 '12 at 18:11
@Pekka'sOrganicRepFarm: Then perhaps the proper thing to ask for is a specialized user page to show outsiders. You press the "user profile" button, and you get the real user profile. But the "user page" would be something else, designed for this purpose. It would have its own link, so we wouldn't have this confusing dichotomy between "SOers" and "non-SOers". It would be up to you to point them to the page you want them to see. –  Nicol Bolas Jan 23 '12 at 17:34
@Pekka'sOrganicRepFarm: Indeed, the "user page" could even be customizable, where you can select questions and answers that you want to specifically highlight. Maybe this is something that should be a Stack App or something. –  Nicol Bolas Jan 23 '12 at 17:36
that's an interesting idea - although it shouldn't be a stack app IMO, but part of the core, just as it used to be –  Pëkka Jan 23 '12 at 19:51
@Pekka'sOrganicRepFarm how 'bout mocking something up as a user script, then sharing it around? –  Benjol Jan 24 '12 at 11:58
@Benjol I thought about mocking up a design at least, some time when I have time. But making a userscript sounds nice as well! –  Pëkka Jan 24 '12 at 12:18
@Benjol: What is a "user script"? –  Nicol Bolas Jan 24 '12 at 15:33
@Nicol, a coded extension that you install in your browser to modify the functionality of a website. See here: stackapps.com/?tab=scripts –  Benjol Jan 25 '12 at 6:13
Agreed, Nicol, with your initial answer. A coded extension in the browser would be daunting to a new user, for viewing a profile. Although I realize that isn't exactly what @Benjol is suggesting. Sort of a meander, as comment threads tend to be. –  Ellie Kesselman Jan 30 '12 at 4:51

Consider using the StackExchange user profile, rather than adding a tab to each SE site profile.

It is offered as an alternative in the user flair badge creator page. I choose that when I want a more streamlined look. (Actually, I think it is too streamlined, not enough information, but I'm not complaining, as further detail is only one intuitive click away). As a user page, each Stack Exchange site has a lot of useful information for avid types. Like us, by definition, if we're on Meta SO... stating the obvious, I guess. I like the details.

I'd also be concerned about the precedent of adding a tab. If you add one tab, it will open the floodgates for all sorts of other tabs. I would suggest that SO make a decision whether or not to go with tabs on user profiles first, then decide on content.

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Which one would you rather show to a person who doesn't have a clue about Stack Exchange?


First ask yourself, why exactly do you need to show your SO profile to someone who doesn't have a clue about Stack Exchange and who you apparently cannot grow interest for it? Why don't you show something else which the person in question can better cipher? For example, a sane CV? Or the Careers profile?

Just don't push your SO profile URL down someone else's throat. If this approach is part of job hunting, just simply put a reference somewhere in the bottom of the CV along with a clear label "Stack Overflow profile page" or something. Anyone who has a clue about this would surely appreciate this reference and follow it. Others would just not care about it. The remaining information in the CV is more than sufficient for them.

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It's definitely never going to be a replacement for a CV. But I'd like to see a SO profile page being somewhere between a CV, and a massive control panel with loads of esoteric SO specific data, which the page is currently. –  Pëkka Oct 21 '12 at 19:02
I'm not sure why you would ever care about others who don't have any interest in Stack Exchange. Should grandmom be able to cipher it? Why? Should a 10 year old son be able to cipher it? Why? –  BalusC Oct 21 '12 at 19:07
Neither grandmom nor a 10 year old son should be able to read it. But an outsider with an IT background should. –  Pëkka Oct 21 '12 at 19:07
It's a little bit depressing of an "IT Professional" can't read that profile in a glance... –  ben is uǝq backwards Oct 21 '12 at 19:09
Honestly, I wouldn't expect if someone with an IT background would be totally unable to chipher it. Even then, why exactly would you care? Stack Exchange does not represent your work, right? –  BalusC Oct 21 '12 at 19:10
@Ben that's not the point. I'm saying it looks like ass. It looks like a server farm's resource monitoring console. And I don't see why it has to, when it would be a breeze to have two views. –  Pëkka Oct 21 '12 at 19:13
@Chichiray the thing is, I'd like to have a visiting card that I can show to fellow geeks when the need is there. Say when trying to get into an Open Source project, or submitting a bug and trying to get taken seriously. That's something that a CV is too much for, and it would be nice to have a good-looking visual representation of your skills. It's not in any way essential, but it would be nice to have. The old profile page did that, and the new does a remarkably worse job. IMO. –  Pëkka Oct 21 '12 at 19:57
The SO user profile is a community user profile, not a visiting card. Use some "about" page on your own website/blog for this. The best what you can get from SE is the so-called Flair (which I personally find less valuable than the SO user profile). –  BalusC Oct 21 '12 at 20:11

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