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This discussion (which is meant to be neutral) is about what the Site Logo and "Questions" links in the header should do. I think this is a worthy discussion and was recommended by Sklivvz♦ in an answer on my previous question.

The New Nav is making a lot of changes to the site as we know it. Let's discuss how we'd like this part of the navigation to work.

Historically, here's the default action of the two buttons (to my knowledge). I'm using Movies.SE as an example:

  • Site Logo
    • Clicking on the site logo of any site takes you to the main URL for the page (e.g. movies.stackexchange.com) and always populates the page with the questions that have the most recent activity.
    • The header reads "top questions" but I'm not really sure why as there's nothing exemplary about the questions shown in the example below.
    • Questions are shown in a compressed view with only the vote # - answer # - Views # - Question title - Tags - Recent activity type/username.

Screen shot with an exemplary ID Question Title.

  • "Questions" Button
    • Clicking on the "Questions" button on any site takes you to the "New Questions" page, where all of the most recently asked questions appear, chronologically. The URL for this page is always (movies.stackexchange.com/questions)
    • The page also includes an expanded view of the questions, including the first 100 or so characters of the question content in addition to the question title.
    • A user can actually change which default tab appears here, though... so if they want "Votes" to appear, they can simply click on "Votes" and future clicks on the "Questions" button will go to the same expanded view but show questions with the most votes (this is on a per-site basis).

All Questions, Newest

New Navigation actions. It was requested in another question that user preferences be remembered For this, I'll be using Meta.SE:

  • Site Logo
    • Clicking on the site logo still takes you to the main URL for the page (meta.stackexchange.com in this case).
    • If you have never viewed any of the other view options, it will take you to the same place as the historical action, including the collapsed question view.
    • If you click on one of the other view options, clicking on the Site Logo will take you to the last-used view option. So, if you click on "Bounties", clicking on the site logo will take you to Bounties. This is similar to the historical function of the "Questions" button.
    • Similarly, you can decide whether you always want to view the questions collapsed or expanded and this decision will be "sticky" until you change it manually.

New Nav Site logo click (default)

  • "Questions" Button
    • The "Questions" Button behavior is identical to the logo behavior except that the URL of the page is meta.stackexchange.com/?tagFilter=all instead of simply meta.stackexchange.com.
    • If I am missing something here, please let me know.

So, now that all of that is out of the way, what do you, oh wise SE community, think the solution should be?

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    I'd recommend trying the new feature for a few days first to balance out the familiarity effect. – Sklivvz Jun 23 '15 at 20:56
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    @Sklivvz Familiarity isn't going fix the redundancy of two links giving identical results. All I'm going to do is never use any of the other view options because I can't "clear" them any more. – Catija Jun 23 '15 at 20:58
  • You can "clear" them by clicking on the tabs -- that is the main question navigation. – Sklivvz Jun 23 '15 at 21:44
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    @Sklivvz I can't click on tabs from a question. I can only click on the logo or one of the main headers. – Catija Jun 23 '15 at 21:46
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    Oh my god. Are you telling me I can't just return to the good old concise activity-sorted front-page by clicking the logo? Now that is seriously messed up. It even remembers across browser sessions! Note to self, never mess with any sorts and filters or I'll just forget to return to the good old front-page view. Oh my, I can't even think about all those new users who miss all the good activity because of accidentally messing with the filters and not knowing how to return... – Christian Rau Jun 23 '15 at 21:54
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    Also, clicking on "new" doesn't clear anything. If the last thing I was viewing was "newest questions" and I click "new", it still only shows "newest questions" not "recently active"... so I spent 20 minutes thinking there was no activity on the site at all. – Catija Jun 23 '15 at 21:56
  • I welcomed this new streamlined navigation right from the start, but always under the condition that we keep our good old logo-click front-page. Wouldn't that have been promised to us right from the start, I'd definitely had far more doubts about this thing. But this is way worse now than the old navigation at all. It's simply a completely breaking change (undermining everyone's trained expectation that clicking on the logo gives the front-page) that doesn't bring any functionality at all, since it does exactly what "Questions" already does. – Christian Rau Jun 23 '15 at 22:08
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    Thanks for creating this, I came to meta just to complain about this fact and was glad to see it was already being addressed :) – Rachel Jun 24 '15 at 18:53
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Many users will probably have a favorite, default view that they'll rarely stray from. There needs to be an easy path to that. People who are here to ask and answer questions should be able to do that easily.

But some (many?) users will also want easy access to the "generic" view -- what does our site look like to visitors? Site evangelists, reviewers, people reworking tags, moderators, and others need easy access to an unfiltered view of the site.

Fortunately, we have two links here.

Clicking on the logo should take you to the unfiltered main page -- (sitename).stackexchange.com. I'm choosing the logo because logos on other web sites often take you to the site's "home" page. This is a pattern that I expect to feel natural and consistent to users. The principle of least astonishment suggests that this should not be a variable, customized view.

Experienced users will know that the "questions" link gives them other options. If you've been on a site enough to have preferences, you're probably already using that link anyway to filter your view. So this, too, seems natural to its users.

Two links, two different ways to use the site, each unsurprising to its users.

  • "what does our site look like to visitors?" - Exactly this. It's not so much I myself who I have in mind but all the other newbies who might not be acquainted with all the intricacies of question sorting but who need some way to return to the homepage. Even if I can do it in 3-4 clicks if remembering to do it, they certainly can't (and wouldn't even know the difference between the options let alone what options are supposed to be the "home" page). – Christian Rau Jun 24 '15 at 9:30
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    This is it. The Logo to the generic view, and the "Questions" button to the view of preference. – Lance Roberts Jun 24 '15 at 14:55
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    logos on other web sites often take you to the site's "home" page. This is a pattern that I expect to feel natural and consistent to users. - I think this is the most important statement here. We have been trained on countless websites to click the logo in the upper left to go back to the main page. As it exists now, that is not possible with a single click, if you've changed any filters. – Andy Jun 24 '15 at 15:16
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    Not that I in any way disagree with this, just curious if it's different than my answer. I appreciate that your wording may be clearer but if I'm reading correctly, it seems we're saying the same thing? – Catija Jun 24 '15 at 15:58
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    @Catija revision 1 (what was current at the time) of yours gives the same conclusion but seemed to be cast more as a preference. I'm arguing for the same outcome based on use cases and user expectations. We both want the same thing but we came at it a little differently, that's all. (This sort of thing happens a fair bit on meta.) – Monica Cellio Jun 24 '15 at 16:02
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My preference is to return the navigation to the historical functionality and to remove the current redundancy of the logo and "Questions" buttons.

  • For those who want to be able to save a specific view of the site, they can use the "Questions" button as has been possible with the current site navigation.

  • For those who always want to go to the "recent activity" page, they can do this as they have in the past, by simply clicking on the site's logo.

With this usage, users have two view options that they can switch between. This is more useful to users (in my opinion) than having two different links that take you to pages with different URLs but identical content.

These are the only two Question-centric buttons when viewing the site on a question page, so for someone who wants to return to the menu they were just viewing, the can click on "Questions" and for someone who's finished with their special view and want to return to recent questions, they can click on the Site Logo.

If one of these two links doesn't go to the main page view, then it takes a user two clicks to get back to it. They must first go back to their current view page and then click on "New" to return to the most recent activity page.

It makes sense (to me, anyway) that the sites have a default page that is always served up when you click on the logo (or visit the base URL meta.stackexchange.com). Every user should have the same result from this action because it can make explaining navigation simpler. Maybe it is decided that it shouldn't be the most recent activity page, and that's fine, I guess.. but it should be something that is standard.

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    If you don't like an answer, please consider leaving an alternate :) – Catija Jun 23 '15 at 21:21

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