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EDIT Dec 4 - We're doing it live! Please post bugs or concerns as questions tagged [top-bar]

We have rolled out our 95% completed top bar for feedback.


  • We are still adding a few final features, so if you have a request for a feature that is not there you might hold off on that for a day or two
  • Yes, the bar is black1. Also give that a day or two to sink in.

I also want to specifically address the meta/main/chat links.

I'm very aware that many of you like having the links at the top of the page and that this new version is different.

The thought process behind moving these links is that the "site switcher" should be an automatic place to go when you are on a site and want to go to another one. If you haven't already developed the muscle memory for these links, getting between them required a bit of a cognitive load: You must first decide that you want to switch sites and then you have to decide which area to go to to switch.

Also, we find that less familiar users aren't entirely clear what a standalone link that says "main" or "meta" actually does... Not to mention that it hurts my UX sensibilities that we are dynamically changing links in an element that should be fixed.

It is true that we have added a click in the process, but we have also removed a lot of clicks for other common actions that are much more frequent than switching between main and meta.

All I ask is that you give it a few days and see if the new "switch sites at the top left" paradigm grows on you.

What do you think?

1. Jin points out that technically it's not quite black.


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Little bit of a shock initially :-). –  ben is uǝq backwards Nov 14 '13 at 22:32
Where's the hot questions? –  Mysticial Nov 14 '13 at 22:33
Inbox is missing a tooltip; I assume that's coming? –  Monica Cellio Nov 14 '13 at 22:35
I.. I... I am in love with it. thank you –  Adel Nov 14 '13 at 22:37
nvm, found it. Boy is that dark... it's like a shadow of a shadow. –  Robert Harvey Nov 14 '13 at 22:40
That is an envelope? I thought it was a headset at first :P –  Travis J Nov 14 '13 at 22:40
@TravisJ you're both wrong, it's actually a literal inbox in perspective. –  David Fullerton Nov 14 '13 at 22:41
On a whole, this is awesome! Thanks, Jeremy/Jin/Laura! –  Manishearth Nov 14 '13 at 22:48
It's pretty sleek but it would be nice if you could filter on achievement types, badges get drowned in rep –  Mathias R. Jessen Nov 14 '13 at 22:55
Fix to the list of sites is good, but only 4 of them? I would like at least ten before it switches to the alphabetical order remainders. Or probably "everything over 200" like the rep graph does. –  Kate Gregory Nov 14 '13 at 23:10
I'd prefer my username make a comeback and replace the teeny tiny gravatar. You can't really see the image very well anyway. –  WendiKidd Nov 14 '13 at 23:19
Wait, will this be (off-)black on every site? Even established sites whose color schemes were carefully decided upon long ago and for which a black bar is quite jarring? –  Chris White Nov 15 '13 at 0:06
I liked the older, cleaner one. –  Dimensio1n0 Nov 15 '13 at 5:34
Can we make it a little less-black to match the overall theme of MSO? –  R.J Nov 15 '13 at 6:36
Is top bar color configurable ?? if not then please change its color to lighter side not this dark .. it is very hard to see the icons in the back color –  Dhaval Nov 15 '13 at 8:56

64 Answers 64

The "logout" functionality has been effectively hidden. It is now only under the "StackExchange" drop down menu.

logout in stackexchange drop down

I would expect "logout" to be associated with my profile. If the logout link is not available in the nav bar, the first thing I try is looking at my profile. If I navigate to my user profile, the logout functionality is not apparent. The "My Logins" link there looks promising, but doesn't offer any functionally for signing out.

A drop down called "StackExchange" is pretty far down my list of places I would try to look for a logout link.

While I like many of the features of the new bar, the logout needs to be more prominent. I would suggest adding a "logout" link on your own user profile.

add logout to profile

Very related. Even so, I disagree with the premise from the other post that it needs to be fewer clicks from a stress injury point of view. I'm trying to emphasize that users need to be able to figure out how to perform the action. –  Stephen Ostermiller Nov 20 '13 at 18:20

Some more feedback concerning reputation.

  1. Can I haz my Stack Overflow rep?

    I believe this is a bug, and I think somebody else noted this already, but it's probably worth stressing it: the Stack Overflow rep is missing in the dropdown.

    This has been fixed.

  2. Can I haz my Meta rep?

    The dropdown is a nice place where I can see all the reputation points across multiple sites. I know it's probably redundant, but I would like to also see the reputation points of the site I'm in. Currently the meta reputations points are not being displayed and the chat/blog/logout links have been moved there.

    I know I can see the reputations point a few pixels away on the top right, but I still think having all the reps listed together would be nice.

  3. You broke my workflow!

    I used to click on my reputation point score to jump to the Reputation tab in my profile. Now I have to click on it (1) and then select the reputation tab (2). I know most of the information is now in the reputation dropdown, but hey, I still think the reputation tab is useful (bar charts!)

    Two clicks, can you believe it?! I suggest you to cause a CPU overheat when I hold my spacebar so that I can configure it as shortcut to the reputation bar chart.

Image by xkcd: http://xkcd.com/1172/

Number one is a small oversight, and we will fix it. For number two, I'm afraid there just isn't anywhere to put it... and it's literally an inch and a half to the right. On point 3, the new achievements drop-down should contain about 80 or 90% of the information you used to go to the rep tab to look for. It's just not a top-level use case anymore. –  Jeremy T Nov 16 '13 at 22:50
@JeremyTunnell the reputation tab is site-specific, so by clicking on my rep I can quickly see all the rep changes for the site I am in (as well as visualizing them by post, time or graph). The rep dropdown is lovely, but I still want to focus on a specific site and do it quickly. Adding a link on the reputation score sounds trivial to implement, it would be coherent with the current behavior and I don't see any evident downside. –  Gabriele Petronella Nov 16 '13 at 23:21
I also just noticed that if I click on the logo in the reputation dropdown it brings me to the reputation tab. Two comments: 1) it's still two clicks away; 2) the link is not there if my reputation didn't change today –  Gabriele Petronella Nov 16 '13 at 23:24

The notification for new message looks odd when you look at it. Everytime I have that red square, I get the feeling something isn't right with it. It was until I actually took time to think about it that I understood that the odd look came from the tray behind it and it wasn't the red square that had a drawing problem. I zoomed the image for a better view but the normal sized appearance looks like the square isn't right. I still find the look bad even knowing this.

The red notification square for a new message should either be bigger as to overlap completely the tray or the tray behind it should be removed. Either option will make it look better IMO.

enter image description here


My two cents:

  • The contrast between the blue Stack Exchange logo and the black bare is terrible. Consider making either the Stack Exchange logo or the bar’s background light grey (preferably both, like it was before).
  • The amount of whitespace between the badge counts and the help button is way too large.
  • The icons next to the Stack Exchange button are not sharp but rather fuzzy.
  • Where did the chat button go?
  • Where did the current user drop down button go?

If this would be the final bar, I’d be sure to add this to my user style sheet:

.topbar {
    display: none;

Or you know, just make it possible through a user setting to bring the old bar back, which was totally fine anyway.

I do agree that the colour scheme is horrible. But the chat button is within the site changer now (chat isn't used ever day for most users so it seams reasonable to take it off the top). There are improvements as well however. I like the rep change notifications –  Richard Tingle Nov 15 '13 at 10:47
@rightfold - I made a light version of the bar (preview). The code for it is here. –  Travis J Nov 19 '13 at 15:39

Should there really be a green icon for each rep change? It's distracting and I keep clicking it :P

Then again, that might just be because it's new, I'll probably learn to ignore it.

What happens when there is an acheivement of another kind, like the edit/badge notifications? Edit notifications are more important than the rest, I don't want to end up ignoring these too. Will there be a separate icon for these?

Also, what happens to mod messages/replies now? Are they buried under the notification bar?

I understand that there's going to be a third dropdown, but I guess that will only be on the sites where I have a diamond. Will mod message notifications only be accessible from the site I moderate?

Edits should now appear in your inbox (we didn't want you to lose/skip over them, either). A mod message that's a direct reply to you will be in your inbox (you'll be notified on any site, like any other inbox message). Copies of messages other mods send will be in a new dropdown that you only see on the site(s) you moderate. –  Laura Nov 14 '13 at 23:33
@Laura Poor ChrisF just might go insane switching back and forth to check the mod dropdown ;) –  WendiKidd Nov 15 '13 at 3:14

I keep thinking my gravatar is a notification. I suppose I'll get used to it eventually, but the reasons I think this are:

  1. The gravatar is small; looks to be about the same size as the inbox and rep icons.
  2. The gravatar flashes in and out when it loads, but everything else on the bar doesn't.

So it's the size of a shiny notification, and it flashes in and gets your attention. This is what the red "you have mail!" inbox notifier on the old bar did; it faded in after the rest of the bar had loaded. So the gravatar keeps tricking me into thinking something has changed, when really it hasn't. Any way to make the gravatar load at the same time as everything else? Obviously the size won't change, but if it were static I don't think I'd think it was a notification (I don't think the inbox and rep icons are notifications, after all.)


The Achievements dropdown should more clearly explain where the numbers come from.

Including the +1's from Community Wiki votes because it just becomes weird when those are involved.

I had +51 show up when I visited the site just now, with no explanation as to why it says +51 in particular. +50 would be understandable, but where's the +1 come from?

an unexplained +51 reputation

I think it's from a Community Wiki upvote. So I might have received 50 rep from 5 upvotes, then my suggestion in this question became community wiki and received one more upvote.

It would be helpful to see a breakdown for this. Something like:

  • +30 The new top bar is out on meta. Consider it a beta
  • +20 A question of some kind
  • +1 CW vote on The new top bar is out on meta. Consider it a beta
I didn't get any CW upvotes today yet saw inconsistent totals as well. I suspect there are some issues to iron out still. Like loading the popup over AJAX again when the you received some more votes. Or not showing the '+score' badge on the icon after reloading. –  Martijn Pieters Nov 15 '13 at 15:12

This is possibly by design, not related to the changes, a different change I've missed or something that MSO is just an exception for, but moderator new meta questions don't show up in the inbox:

Biology meta notifications showing up on Gaming Inbox Biology meta notifications showing up on Gaming Inbox

No notification on meta stack overflow But no Meta love

There's a separate diamond inbox on sites where you have one where this will go to. –  Manishearth Nov 15 '13 at 13:29
@Rory Yeah. Not sure how I feel about that, tbh... The inbox is SE-global. If I'm browsing SO and I get a ping on ELU, I'm immediately notified. So I feel like I should be able to have the same thing happen for moderator notifications... Just because I happen to be on another site doesn't mean I don't want to know if something has happened on the sites I moderate. I think the idea behind this was to let us relax and be normal users on other sites, but in practice I think it might make me feel like I have to switch back and forth between sites more often. Let's give it a fair chance (cont'd) –  WendiKidd Nov 15 '13 at 23:32

The inbox-icon looks like a printer-icon. It should look more like an idealized open letter.

I believe it is supposed to look like, well, an inbox. I.e. on of those things on your desk that irritating people put things in for you to deal with –  Richard Tingle Nov 15 '13 at 12:03

For a minute I thought you had decided that using Stack Overflow would now require and be integrated with a G+ account.

That would make me rage filled (I have developed an irrational hatred for G+ for no reason that I can identify) –  Richard Tingle Nov 15 '13 at 22:49
The day is quickly coming that "Google Account" and "G+ Account" are the same thing. –  Ben Collins Nov 16 '13 at 15:06
@BenCollins if I'm honest that is quite a lot of my reason for the irrational hatred. I used to be able to leave reviews on android apps just fine but apparently I need a G+ account now: so I don't leave reviews any more –  Richard Tingle Nov 16 '13 at 15:44
@RichardTingle sorry. You might think about finding a way to cope, because when the two account systems are unified you won't be able to get apps, either. –  Ben Collins Nov 16 '13 at 15:53

It might be just me (I don't see anyone else having mentioned this), but when I click on the Stack Exchange dropdown and see at the top of the list "Meta Stack Overflow ... chat / blog / log out", that looks to me like those three links only affect that site. Which is even more confusing because I'm not even terribly active on MSO!

I'd say that the links that don't relate directly to any one site should go together with "explore our sites", not together with any one particular site. That makes it much more clear that they are network-wide.

enter image description here

But, those thinks are specific to that site. Each site can have its own blog, and each site has its own little sector of the chat system that lists room specific to that site. For example, the "blog" link on Programmers SE goes to this URL. –  animuson Nov 15 '13 at 8:48
@animuson In that case it is definitely non-obvious in my opinion how you'd chat on SuperUser. :) (Being a regular on SE I probably could figure it out, but someone not quite so vested in the network might not.) And surely "log out" isn't site-specific? –  Michael Kjörling Nov 15 '13 at 9:07
@Michael: As far as I know, log out is site-specific. When I want to log out of the Stack Exchange network, I go to every site I logged into individually and log out of each. –  icktoofay Nov 16 '13 at 5:24

I would like to see the achievements tab 'remember' what sections I collapsed and what sections I want to be open between two page loads. It currently only remembers this until I click a link to an other page


There seems to be a bug with the top bar and Internet Explorer 9 (don't question it, they forced me!). When there is a number on top of the achievements button and the user clicks on it, sometimes the browser tab will completely crash. I think it might be related to clicking outside the achievements window to close it. It happened twice to me today, but I am not sure if it is related to just this computer or to all IE9 browsers.


I do not like its blackness. It's hard to see dark grey on black and it's very contrasting with the white bg.

  • Will there be an option to change the color of the bar?
  • Will there be an option to hide it?

"The Workplace" has disappeared from my list of sites in this version. Is it because it is in beta? Can we have a list of our beta sites too if this is the case please?

Edit: It is there if I search for it, but not in my list of sites I have an account on. Strange:

enter image description here

@gnat Underneath the ones I have listed there is then just the search box and all the other sites in the entire list that I do not have rep for. You can see the top of the search box in my image, that is the end of the section where my sites are displayed. I have 101 rep on The Workplace, just as I do at Server Fault so would expect it to be in the top list –  Fiona Taylor Gorringe Nov 18 '13 at 17:12

Overall, not bad. Some specific criticism:

  • The solid “almost” black is too harsh a contrast with the white page background, and gray-on-black will just about disappear under less-than-optimal viewing conditions (glare, bad monitor, bad eyes, bad gamma — take your pick). I would prefer colors which match the site theme.

  • "Achievements"? We don't have no stinkin' achievements around here. I guessed this was supposed to be a term for “reputation and badges” (if so, it's a bad choice, because "achievements" has a specific understood meaning which reputation does not fit), but I don't see badges I've recently earned listed there (or anywhere else).

  • I think moving chat and meta links into the site switcher is not the best idea, for a specific reason: chat and meta for a given site are not different sites, they are ways I can further participate in this site, and having them be prominently linked has helped me choose to participate more in those ways.

@RichardTingle SE badges are achievements under a different name. They are generally specific, named, one-time awards for specific accomplishments. –  Kevin Reid Nov 19 '13 at 1:13

The actual gravatar image should be twice as big to look nice in HDPI screens.

At the moment the size of the image is 24px and the requested size is 24, but instead it should be 48px for the same size.

Here is the difference and it's quite noticeable on HDPI screens when it's not optimised for them. I think also that is not worth it to treat it differently in that case and requesting for 24px size for normal screens but rather requesting always the 2x size.

enter image description here

@Stijn that was an issue back in '90s.. today they are doing quite a good job.. so it's an extra work for not that important issue.. but the point here is that we need the 2x for the HDPI screens for sure.. how it will handle the smaller ones is another issue.. –  Lipis Nov 27 '13 at 10:54

I LOVE it. The only thing I miss is seeing my name, for some reason. It's almost like a little security blanket I didn't even notice. Sure, the avatar is great, but there is something subconscious missing.


I was slightly shocked initially (I even cleared my cache thinking that something had become corrupted and showed the background as black).

It's OK I guess, I didn't really have a problem with the old one though. The missing "main" and "chat" links are a loss to easy navigation.

Also, in my opinion, I don't really like the vibe of the solid black bar. I feel like I'm on some silly blog site (or in one of Google's zillion different themes on their sites). The old bar felt cozier and integrated.


Two points.

Resize Achievements Window to Fit Content

It looks really peculiar to have a large white space left when collapsing the achievements window. It should be relatively straight forward to have the expand/contract to fit the content with a little Javascript.

Alternatively we could draw a cute little ghost in the unused space.

Collapse Categories by Default

I would collapse "Last 30 Days" and "Older" by default. As I think the majority of users will only be interested in their recent reputation changes / awarded achievements, when not viewing from the reputation page on their profile.

enter image description here

We have a very long tail user base, so where you may get changes every day, others may only get 1 a week or so. The interface needs to work for both those scenarios. The dropdowns are also all a constant height by-design. I agree it looks odd when totally collapsed, but not sure what we'll do there. –  Nick Craver Nov 18 '13 at 16:15

You now need three clicks to log out - click the Stack Exchange name & logo, then the "log out" on it's menu, then the final log out button.

Previously it only took two clicks - hover on username, click the "log out" link, then click the final log out button.

As ICT professionals we are vulnerable to RSI, so IMO basic functions like logging out should require as few clicks as necessary.

Ideally, I'd like a "log out" button on the top bar itself.

As an alternative, maybe hovering on the Stack Exchange name & logo could cause it's menu to appear automatically. Just like hovering on your name in the old design automatically gave you the dropdown with the logout button.

HOLY CRAP YOU LOG IN/OUT A LOT. Not kidding. Wow. You win a prize or something. Is RSI a prize? –  Shogging through the snow Nov 18 '13 at 16:53
Physically figuring out how to log out seems to be quite a challenge in itself (without your OpenID logging you back in anyway) –  Richard Tingle Nov 19 '13 at 0:41
I find the placement of the Log Out link for the current site quite odd considering that most sites put it next to the user name link or in a drop down that is opened when you click the user name. Having it in the site list is not very intuitive. I suppose if the goal is to eventually have a Log Out link for each site that you're logged into so you can log out of several sites from one spot, then yes, keep it there, but for God's sake, please put one in a more logical place for the more common use case. –  RobH Nov 19 '13 at 0:42

I like the achievements feature, but I think the icon could be improved.

Achievements icon

I can see now that it is supposed to be some sort of graph, but it looks, at first glance, more like Mum, Dad and their three kids are out walking in the dark.

Which isn't exactly suggestive of what functionality it supports.

Could you please make the icon less suggestive of a group of people?


Mod-messages are not shown properly. The picture below is not censored.

mod messages

Fortunately, these are: i.stack.imgur.com/s1uAN.png –  JDB Dec 4 '13 at 15:50

Can we have the reputation abbreviated with the usual k units, please?

wout turn into the much more readable:

I don't see reason for abbreviating the reps there, but I definitely would like to se a thousands separator. –  Gabriele Petronella Nov 15 '13 at 6:27
Well, it's abbreviated everywhere except for the profile and the former top bar, so I don't see why it should take that much space here. Either way is fine though, but without separators it's unreadable. –  slhck Nov 15 '13 at 6:47
Well if you want an overview of your reputation across multiple sites, I kinda like not having it abbreviated. Separators needed indeed, but I suspect they'll be there in the final version. –  Gabriele Petronella Nov 15 '13 at 6:50
Hrmph! We finally found a place to show rep where the possibility of overflow is nil, and he wants abbreviations. Sheesh, people, make up your minds! –  Tim Post Nov 15 '13 at 8:35
The rep numbers now have their missing commas - we don't intend to abbreviate them, there's plenty of room. –  Nick Craver Nov 16 '13 at 1:29

Consider running a test for achievements indicator, assuming a user who starts with something like +20 (+50, +100...) and then gets frequent +1/-1 rep changes from answers un/downvotes.

To me, it took quite a while to figure that flashing green digits indicate "daily reputation balance across the whole network" which lights on every time I get tiny rep changes from un/downvotes or when someone removes an answer I downvoted once upon the time.

It gets even more confusing when these flashes start messing with larger "daily total" updates from upvotes / accepts. Frankly, I am not sure how long it will take me to get used to this...


Per my reading of comments from SE developer, it was intended to behave differently, showing only increments compared to last time I checked:

The big green number is how much rep you've gained since the last time you checked.

@gnat: It's not the intended behaviour though :P (meta.stackexchange.com/questions/207420/…) –  Matt Nov 19 '13 at 16:44

Where can I easily see the server time? I want this when I have hit the rep cap, used all my votes, or otherwise been busy. Time zone math was never my thing and there's daylight savings too, so I always used the reminder at the bottom of the rep change dropdown. Where is it now?

It's now at the top of the achievements drop-down –  Jeremy T Dec 2 '13 at 23:59

The badge notification includes the text "see your profile" but the whole thing is just a link to the question or answer that earned the badge. There is also no colour indicator for those who haven't memorized whether Great Answer is gold or silver.

I tried to get a screenshot but failed. Hovering over the words "your profile" shows a link to the question or answer but it should be to your profile.

Here's the old notification:

enter image description here

Each of the bolded words is a separate link.


Previously we had 2 possibilities to check our daily reputation sum:

  • Hover over the name on the top bar
  • Click on the rep to get to the reputation tab of my profile

But now both possibilities are gone.

Could we split the link to the profile again to take me to the rep tab when I click on the left side or directly on the rep number?

Profile link

Open achievements. You can see there today's total earned reputation by sites. You can also redirect from it. See meta.stackexchange.com/a/198678/187824 –  hims056 Nov 15 '13 at 7:45
You're right. Did not see that until I got rep today. –  juergen d Nov 15 '13 at 10:55

Could we please get the AJAX bug fixed that doesn't update the rep display? Currently, any rep increase will update it, but rep decreases only show when you refresh the page in some way.

Reputation Updater

This is by design. Negative changes don't update automatically. –  Emrakul Dec 3 '13 at 0:10

What does everyone think of badge notifications going into the main inbox instead? How intrusive that would be would depend on how often you get badges, I suppose, but my current fear is that the badge notifications are going to be lost in all the content that will be in the graph dropdown. I definitely want to know when I get a badge, but all the other info that's currently on that tab I just check from my user profile. I'm not going to probably use that tab, and I don't want to have to sift through it to find badges because there will be so much other activity... Does that make any sense? /ramblings

(There's always the option of letting us customize where we want certain things... "Do you want badge notifications? Inbox/Rep Tab/No" etc. But that's probably more work than needs to be added right now.)

Ugh, please, no. I have a hard enough time keeping up with my replies. I'm already a bit worried about edit notifications being mixed in. Keep the badges out in the brownie point bin. –  Gilles Nov 15 '13 at 16:02
Currently there's a nice separation between; things you should probably read and things you can ignore if you want. I say keep it as it is –  Richard Tingle Nov 16 '13 at 0:28

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