At the moment, questions at the front page can be told apart as follows:

  • Questions with no answer (at SO: "0 answers"; red);

  • Questions with at least one answer, but no accepted one (at SO: "[number] answer(s)"; white on green);

  • Questions with an accepted answer (at SO: "[number] answer(s); yellow on green).

With this color scheme, one can not discern questions without upvoted or accepted answers (i.e, those that are considered "unanswered"). I originally suggested the following amendment to the color scheme:

  • Questions with at least one answer, but no upvoted or accepted one (at SO: "[number] answer(s)"; light red on green).

Here's how it would have looked like at SO (old v. original proposal):

enter image description here

But as Flexo has pointed out in his answer, "the use of colour is already non-intuitive, don't make it worse by introducing more unintuitive colours". I therefore now suggest to simply assign the existing color/shape scheme for questions with no answers to all "unanswered" questions (here's old v. new):

enter image description here

This alternative proposal should be very easy to implement across all SE sites because there's no need to augment each site's design with a new frontpage color/shape scheme.

  • 2
    Such a feature would be very helpful and far from intrusive.
    – N.N.
    Jan 5, 2012 at 12:51
  • I'm not sure I like conveying information by colour only, which this would introduce.
    – Flexo
    Jan 29, 2012 at 12:28
  • 3
    @awoodland Information is already conveyed by color only. Accepted answers are conveyed by color only. Thus, this would not introduce conveying information by color only. It would only introduce conveying something in color which is currently not conveyed in any way.
    – N.N.
    Jan 29, 2012 at 13:04
  • @N.N - there's nothing in the current design with is purely colour based. The yellow vs white of the number is distinguishable from intensity alone. The yellow vs salmon pink has no intensity difference.
    – Flexo
    Jan 29, 2012 at 13:06
  • 4
    The only thing I see is that this makes it even harder to tell what's what. You're introducing a (barely distinct) third option where it's already sort of hard to tell where "answered" and "accepted" are different at a glance.
    – Ben Brocka
    Jan 29, 2012 at 19:12
  • @BenBrocka Please have a look at my alternative proposal.
    – lockstep
    Jan 29, 2012 at 22:18
  • Dupe - your 2nd alternate sounds the same as my answer there, so +1 :)
    – Alconja
    Jan 30, 2012 at 4:11

1 Answer 1


tl;dr the information is interesting to power users, but the use of colour is already non-intuitive, don't make it worse by introducing more unintuitive colours.

I think this is an interesting idea in principle, but I don't like your proposed display of the information.

Without the colour the current implementation looks like:


Even without the colour there you can still distinguish between the answered and the answered+accepted cases, not much worse than with the colour. (I think it has usability issues as it stands because it's not intuitive to interpret, but that's a different issue -- the point is they're discernible when you know what you're looking for with or without the colour)

With your proposed implementation this becomes:


I can't tell those colours apart (even with a fairly good display), much less interpret them intuitively, which would be the ideal scenario.

I would be more in favour of a proposal based on using shape, e.g. the "tick" that indicates an accepted answer, which would be immediately recognisable to anybody who understands how question acceptance works on the site. It might simply be that this is a "power user" feature only and thus better handled by searching/filtering mechanisms rather than introducing additional clutter to the questions list.

  • 3
    I would also welcome an implementation of my proposal that uses different shapes instead of colors. You may be right that information about which questions are "unanswered" is (only) interesting for power users, but this is also true for the (existing) information about accepted answers.
    – lockstep
    Jan 29, 2012 at 20:34
  • Please have a look at my alternative proposal.
    – lockstep
    Jan 29, 2012 at 21:49
  • 3
    @lockstep - I think that makes a lot more sense within the current design
    – Flexo
    Jan 29, 2012 at 22:15

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .