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The current site footers include text links to each site:

Screenshot of the current footer

This design has the advantage of removing any doubt about where a link goes, but it:

  1. Takes up more space; to compensate normal sites only include links to other normal sites and betas only include links to other betas
  2. Is hard to quickly navigate (try to rapidly find "bicycles" in the above screenshot)
  3. Rather lacks aesthetic appeal

All the sites already have nice logos designed; is it possible to use those instead of textual links?

Screenshot of an icon-based footer

This fixes the problems I listed above; the only downside I see is increased difficulty for new users who don't know which logo corresponds to which site. I made the icon tooltips for that mockup show the site title, but that requires users to actually try mousing over them:

Screenshot of the mouseover for the Unix icon

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I failed to find "bicycles" rapidly, but I believe that would have been a lot easier if there was an order to the list, such as alphabetical. At the moment I can't tell how the sites are ordered... – staticbeast Dec 15 '10 at 12:20
@staticbeast That might help. They're currently ordered by launch date (or beta date, for sites that haven't launched yet) – Michael Mrozek Dec 15 '10 at 14:46
up vote 2 down vote accepted

Would very substantially increase the download payload of every page we serve, for minor aesthetic reasons. Not likely IMO.

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Really? I thought you stuffed all the images into one graphic to avoid that. I guess I don't get how that sprites image works then – Michael Mrozek Dec 15 '10 at 6:50
@michael each site has its own images, but you'd be adding a massive sprite of all sites logos.. to every site. – Jeff Atwood Dec 15 '10 at 6:52
Maybe you could implement something like the StackExchange Dropdown that is in the header, for the footer. It would just hold a list of all the sites. No need to load any images, it would just organize the links and take up less space. – Dexter Dec 15 '10 at 7:40

load of icons put together: not a good idea IMO

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Any particular reason? Jeff had a good point about download size in his answer, but I assume that's not what you're concerned about – Michael Mrozek Dec 15 '10 at 14:57

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