This post is now locked due to a lot of off-topic or very tangentially related issues being posted here. It's so large that it is pretty hard to find/triage issues listed. If you have a concern related to left nav, theming and/or responsiveness, then I'd encourage you to post them as a question on MSE or on the meta of the specific site you're concerned with.

We have released left navigation bar, our new theming and a our initial responsive design work on Stack Overflow and Meta Stack Exchange (it's been live on MSO for a week). This work has been in progress and being discussed with the community for several months. The motivation for the work is covered in my post entitled Ch-ch-ch-changes: Left nav, responsive design, & themes, so check that out if you have any questions about why this work is important.

Left nav and theming

Check out the new left navigation and new theme (most relevant to MSE). This work creates greater experience consistency across the Q&A sites and will increase in the velocity of bug fixes, improvements and new features to all sites thanks to a fully unified code base.

Based on early feedback from our initial announcement we've added a preference to unpin the left nav so it doesn't take up space. Just head on down to your local preferences and check the box.

Navigation preferences

This is the biggest changes we made based on early feedback from the community. Check out the full list here: Left nav, responsive design, and theming next steps

Responsive design

Many of the most used pages on the site are now responsive to your window size. This benefits people who have lower resolution devices or like to have multiple windows in view. This functionality has been live for a few weeks for Stack Overflow for Teams users.

This is a work in progress and this step is a part of our effort to validate our significant changes to page layout code. Not all pages are responsive yet, asking a question and many moderator or review activities will not work in a smaller viewport and you'll need to expand the window. We are making improvements to this experience week by week, so it will just keep getting better.

We haven't fully optimized this for mobile devices, but click the "full site" option in the footer and you will get the responsive design on your phone. If for some reason you need access to the non-responsive version, we have a temporary feature for turning that on. Just click "Disable Responsive" option in the footer. This is a temporary feature that will go away once all the pages/features have been made responsive. The mobile optimized view will also remain in place until we finish making all the changes.

You can read more about the ins and outs in Responsive design is enabled for Teams users.

When is this coming to other sites?

After we gather feedback via this sneak peek on MSO/MSE we will be releasing this on other sites. Currently the plan is as follows:

  • Mid-June:
  • July: release to network sites with "stock" theme and 5-10 other sites
  • August - September: release to the remaining sites. As we have more details we will update individual communities in their local meta.


If you encounter a bug or a usability problem feel free to post it on MSE. We are eager to make updates so that this rollout goes smoothly for all communities.

  • 353
    The new layout feels like facebook. I don't wanna be on facebook :/ – sonnet Jun 12 '18 at 17:42
  • 189
    Is there a reason the preference to hide it doesn't apply network-wide – user400654 Jun 12 '18 at 17:48
  • 296
    I don't like new layout. – Pankaj Kapare Jun 12 '18 at 19:42
  • 88
    This menu makes me almost physically uncomfortable. Like walking around in wet shoes. Thanks for providing the setting to disable it. – toniedzwiedz Jun 12 '18 at 20:45
  • 100
    For the next April 1st make sidebar take 50% of the screen and disable ability to hide it, please. – wha7ever Jun 12 '18 at 21:05
  • 237
    One comment on the new UI: The old one wasn't broken. – Mars Jun 12 '18 at 21:36
  • 101
    I despise this new design. Questions and answers now get only about half the available browser window real-estate with the way I use my browser. – Omnifarious Jun 12 '18 at 23:39
  • 109
    Thank God you can hide the left-nav. At least you remembered the most important rule in software development "A new feature is a BUG if it cannot be TURNED OFF". – David C. Rankin Jun 12 '18 at 23:43
  • 87
    NO, the previous navbar (top one) was better. It had right amount of breathing space, usability and didn't take much of space too. This left navbar simply takes up quite unnecessary space (blank space when we scroll down) in the page. Also, with just 5 items in the menu, top navbar is a better choice than side navbar. And if a side navbar is unavoidable then give a toggle button (hamburger button type) to close the navbar when not needed. – HardikT Jun 13 '18 at 5:57
  • 35
    Add me to the sad pile - while I hid the new left pane, Im actually just left now with a lot of empty space.. making it seem odd – BugFinder Jun 13 '18 at 7:51
  • 29
    The left navigation bar makes it all uncomfortable for people like me who are used to eye track from the left and compulsively detest repetitive and static element on page (like sticky nav or desktop ribbon). My programmatic eye-balls spends most time tracking left-to-center and only selectively track center-to-right content when needed to. It gets annoying going back and forth between my left-oriented IDE and new center-oriented SO page. I can only hide the left nav. Great if I can also collapse it. – KMC Jun 13 '18 at 8:18
  • 77
    Ugh just have an X button to hide it? Why make us go to our settings to hide it? Bad usability. – Mike Speed Jun 13 '18 at 12:11
  • 66
    I personally feel it's ugly feature, even other devs in my company they were saying old stackoverflow was better (they are not registered), left nav occupies lot of space unnecessarily. Please remove this feature and revert to good old layout. So dowvoted (wish I was able to downvote multiple times to express dissatisfaction) :( – Pradeep Simha Jun 13 '18 at 12:42
  • 35
    I'm glad it's possible to turn the left-nav off, that's great. However with it's turned off old links aren't available in the top page with Questions, Tags, Users, Badges, Unanswered. Where to find them then? – Mr Zak Jun 13 '18 at 20:34
  • 28
    Is there a chance theoretically that we could get the previous design back? It was so much better. – Callum Watkins Jun 15 '18 at 18:08

86 Answers 86

1 2 3

Personally, I'm not a fan of the border at the right. It gives the questions a bit of a boxed-in look, and I think it looks nicer without it. Especially when scrolling down a lot, I think it looks nicer without a border, also because the left sidebar doesn't have one.


enter image description here


enter image description here

  • I had this exact same concern and so I decided I'll write a userscript to hide it for myself if nobody else thinks this is a "visual feeling" issue. Guess I'm not alone. It really does feel like the air is snuffed out and the page becomes a claustraphobic cubicle – user1306322 Jun 12 '18 at 17:54
  • 1
    I totally agree with this. It's like an itch in my brain while it's there. I immediately created a userscript to fix it, then realised I can disable the navbar completely. I'm happy now. – Clonkex Jun 13 '18 at 3:58

The preference to hide the left sidebar really wasn't as useful as I initially thought. The main issue is that it hides some actions I used very often behind two clicks, instead of only the one click needed previously. By far the most common page I want to navigate to is the "Questions" page, to view the newest questions on the site. On SO another common action is to switch to my Team instead of the main site.

My initial expectation was that this preference would simply move those items back to the kind of horizontal menu we have on classic SE sites. But instead it hides everything behind a hamburger menu.

There's plenty of space in the header for MSE, and on SO there's even less vertical space occupied as there is only the top bar, and no header below it. I think switching the sidebar to a horizontal menu if the "hide left navigation" is checked would be a large improvement over the unconditional hamburger menu. This trades width against height, and not width against an additional click every time.

  • 1
    Isn't this basically just...activating the old design instead? Not saying that'd be a bad idea. ;-) But it's unlikely that is really an otpion. – Chris says Reinstate Monica Jun 12 '18 at 20:31
  • 1
    @ChristianRau it would be very similar to the old design, yes. I also wouldn't have expected this to be likely to happen, but then SE actually added a preference to hide the left navigation bar, so they seem to want to cater to the users that dislike that sidebar very strongly. – Mad Scientist Jun 12 '18 at 20:35
  • 1
    Yeah but a horizontal bar isn't going to scale well for users with 2 dozen teams! – user400654 Jun 12 '18 at 20:37
  • @KevinB you can always put the overflow into a hamburger menu on that horizontal bar, that's a very common pattern for responsive designs. – Mad Scientist Jun 12 '18 at 20:38
  • 1
    i mean... those users are paying customers. – user400654 Jun 12 '18 at 20:39
  • 1
    @Kevin The convenience of a few shouldn't cause inconvenience to many. Besides, it is always possible to scroll horizontally. Also, "Teams" can be hosted separate from StackOverflow, just like all the other SE sites are presently, and this left bar gimmick can be implemented only on that site. It makes sense to have a dedicated site for paying customers, coupling "Teams" with StackOverflow just makes things complicated. Besides, we are just assuming that paying customers get preferential treatment. I know that's what commonly happens, but it hasn't been explicitly stated. – Masked Man Jun 17 '18 at 6:01
  • 1
    nothing adblock or a users script can’t fix @Thanos – user400654 Jun 17 '18 at 13:04
  • 2
    @KevinB So install userscripts on multiple browsers and devices is a solution? Or are you saying access the site only from a single browser on a single device? – Masked Man Jun 17 '18 at 13:10
  • single device. why in the world would you use multiple browsers devices at the same time for SO? it’s not like you’re QA testing SO. you only have to set up a user script once per device you choose. it’s easy. – user400654 Jun 17 '18 at 14:23
  • 1
    @kevin, I'm accessing SE from 5 different devices, not all of them support user scripts. And you also have to keep user scripts updated, and they tend to break occasionally, ... . User scripts are at best a workaround, they're never a solution – Mad Scientist Jun 17 '18 at 14:54
  • i mean... i can’t help that you make your life so hard for yourself. 🤷‍♂️ – user400654 Jun 17 '18 at 14:56
  • This was raised by other users as well. E.g., see this question on MSO – Mureinik Jun 29 '18 at 9:22

I have a suggestion for improving the usefulness of the left-hand nav bar. There are complaints about there being too many "hamburger-like" menu buttons. I suggest to remove the community one, and put it in the left-hand navigation bar.

This is what SO looks like for me today:

enter image description here

It would be easy to add links to other pages in the SE network under the "Public" heading (sorry for the very awful mock-up, UIs is not what I do):

enter image description here

There could be an additional button there to customize which links are shown (for those folks who make accounts on all SE sites, you know who you are).

EDIT: My thoughts mirror the ones expressed in this answer to the "Ch-ch-changes" post.

  • 2
    Please, please, please no. The content in the left bar is local content. Specific to that site. I really, really do not want the site selector here. – Catija Jun 12 '18 at 21:40
  • 3
    We seriously considered that approach in the early days of the design explorations. I still think it has merit. But we decided to not implement it at this time. It may come back, you never know. – Joe Friend Jun 12 '18 at 22:09

When I answer a question now, the width of the preview I see below the answer box is not correct. The actual answer that gets displayed when I post it will be narrower than the preview, so blocks of code may gain scroll bars that I wasn't expecting.

For instance, this fits on one line in the preview but it may need a scroll bar when I actually post it

I hope this is only a bug with the answer preview. It would be really bad if the width of all code blocks was actually changed, since that would break a ton of old answers that used to use all the width available (for things like comments at the end of lines), but now they're too wide.

  • While it might be more of a problem now, this was already a problem. There are various Meta posts complaining about this (at least one is relatively recent). The problem existed (and exists) with seeing a different number of characters per line in the preview vs. once it was saved. It also existed (and exists) between what was shown in different browsers. While it's certainly something that should be addressed, it's not new due to this layout. – Makyen Jun 16 '18 at 5:11
  • Ah, that may well be. I only know that it didn't happen for me before (in Firefox with a maximized window width of 1080 pixels) but it always does now. The new layout may have promoted this issue from a fringe one that only affected people with unusual resolutions into something that effects almost everybody. I'll go search for and upvote the existing issue though. – Blckknght Jun 17 '18 at 19:41

Hide Left nav everywhere with a global preference

Even after changing preference. Nav bar is still there:

enter image description here

enter image description here

  • 1
    We've had a few mentions of this and are investigating. – Joe Friend Jun 12 '18 at 19:12
  • @JoeFriendok, let me know If I can do anything to help testing. – Juan Carlos Oropeza Jun 12 '18 at 20:21
  • @JoeFriend Yes, I read preferences are site specifics, but how you get there? I cant find the preference button. Only the link above. – Juan Carlos Oropeza Jun 13 '18 at 16:13
  • Change the url to match the site you want to go to. So, for SO it would be: stackoverflow.com/users/preferences/current – Joe Friend Jun 13 '18 at 16:20

I did go to left nav link and turned off left nav panel as instructed (with some difficulty). But now I can't navigate at all - my work flow is to go back to the question list after looking at a question. The back button isn't always the best way to do that.

(Perhaps this should have been a comment - perhaps it's even been discussed above and I didn't follow instructions before posting - but felt I had to vent right away.)

Edit with more information.

Someone kindly pinged me to tell me about the button on the upper left that gives me navigation (back to questions). Thanks.

Next beef. The question list (without the nav bar) lists hot network questions on the right, as it used to and should. But they now take up nearly half the screen width. If I increase font size (Firefox) to trade for a willingness to scroll the question font increases (good) and the hot question list disappears entirely ...


Yet another whitespace issue, mobile edition

On phones, when viewing a question, the question (and answer) bodies are indented to make room for the voting buttons to the left. This is not a complaint about that -- yeah, I'd like to do better there while retaining access to the mod tools, but this post is about a consequence of that: comments.

In the desktop view comments are indented such that their scores (if present) align with the edge of the post body. There's room for that in the desktop view. On a phone, it makes lines too short in comments, which means I can view fewer comments at a time and have to scroll more. On phones where real-estate is limited, can we please align the comments with the post body? That'll still leave plenty of room for comment votes/flags.

marked-up screenshot


Make the #content element a main landmark.

The main landmark will help screen reader users jump straight to the main content. It lets screen reader users skip past header and navigation. NVDA screen reader users can for example press D three times to skip to the header landmark, then to the main nav landmark, then to the main content landmark.

(Not all screen reader users know about this ability, and most sites don't implement it, so this should be done in conjunction with skip links, not instead of them.)

Specifically, change it from:

  • <div id="content">

to either one of these:

  • <div role="main" id="content">
  • <main role="main" id="content">

The Main element is a HTML5 semantic element, and effectively identical to <div role="main"> so either one works fine.

Writing <main role="main"> is something we do for IE11 compatibility. (In all other browsers it's redundant.) IE11 came out with support for the main role but without support for the main element, which it treats as unknown but stylable. See Can I Use: HTML5 Semantic Elements. If you use the main element you'll also want to add the following CSS line to your page to tell IE how to render the element: main { display: block; }


Search button overlaps right nav

Similar to this answer about how adding a comment overlays right nav, and this one with edits, and yet another one with another set of buttons.

Firefox 62.0, Windows 10, happens (roughly) between 1001px and 1136px wide: resizing the window makes the search button from the search results overlays the right nav.

On Meta... bug on Meta

Stack Overflow... bug on Stack Overflow

And SFF, and others with the new theme: bug on SFF

I don't know if it's relevant but apparently it also happens on job searches, per this post on MSO, but that was another browser and not the exact same button - never used job search on SO, don't know how it behaves.

  • 1
    Confirmed. Firefox Android 63.0b7. – Rob Sep 23 '18 at 6:35
  • 1
    I'm not seeing it in Chrome but was able to repro in FF 62 and 63. Thanks. We'll look at it. – Catija Oct 23 '18 at 15:45
  • This should be fixed now – Yaakov Ellis May 29 '19 at 18:37

User's flags view on mobile stretches out too much

Which is probably related to responsive mobile still being worked on, but just in case.

Chrome 69.0.3497.100 from Google Play, phone running Android 5.1.

flags view stretches out

  • Thanks! We still have a lot of work to do, particularly when it comes to moderation pages like this. – Catija Oct 23 '18 at 15:58
  • This isn't a mobile problem per se. It's a problem you'll see anywhere if your window is narrower than a certain amount. I'm seeing this on desktop. – Laurel Dec 9 '18 at 20:05

I'm not sure if this bug has been reported or not (honestly I've looked at only half of the response post here): the badge notification graphics clash with the frame beneath it as shown in my screen grab, across all browser zooms (shown below are 110%, 50%, 200%).

My system is MacBook Pro laptop with a 2880x1880 screen by default mimicking 1440x900, running OS X El Capitan version 10.11.6, and the browser is Google Chrome version 69.0.3497.100 (Official Build) (64-bit).

enter image description here

enter image description here

enter image description here

  • Yep! We're working on it. We have several reports on it and are trying to get a fix out soon. Thanks! – Catija Oct 23 '18 at 15:19

Process Objection

I think this issue underlies a lot of the other ones we're seeing. Several of the issues raised on my "home" stack (RPG.SE) with regards to poor contrast, items distinguished by color only, etc., garnered the response "that's a valid concern and we'll look at that when we start thinking about accesssibility issues, after the new layout is completely rolled out." While I appreciate that it is on the agenda in the first place, the appropriate time to be thinking about accessibility is day 1, before planning, let alone making, any changes.


Hopefully this has not been posted yet, but the website is really going to great lengths to want me to accept an answer. The following image demonstrates it all.

In case I did not make my feedback clear enough, the text circled in the image displaced the vote/answer/view counters from where they should have been shown.

enter image description here

  • Hey Frenzy, I flagged this as not an answer since it seems to be completely unrelated to the topic of this post. If you feel strongly about this, then I'd suggest you post it as a feature request on its own. – Joe Friend Oct 17 '18 at 20:07
  • 1
    @JoeFriend It looks like a bug to me, since the message should probably be above the title, instead of squeezing it "to great lengths" (or should we say "widths"?). – Laurel Oct 17 '18 at 20:20
  • 1
    @JoeFriend This is a valid bug that seems to only occur on sites where the responsive design has rolled out. The italicized text seems more like exaggerated sarcasm rather than an opinionated rant. As such, I dismissed your flag. – Sonic the Anonymous Hedgehog Oct 17 '18 at 22:15
  • @SonictheInclusiveWerehog Not debating whether it is a bug or not. It's just not relevant to this post. The profiles page is NOT responsive so that can't be the cause here as best as I can figure. – Joe Friend Oct 18 '18 at 15:12
  • Well, then maybe it would be better to post this as a separate question (cc @JoeFriend) – Sonic the Anonymous Hedgehog Oct 18 '18 at 17:39

Is the minimal width of the page on chat.stackexchange.com and chat.stackoverflow.com gonna be considered in the redesign?

Here's a userscript that resolves this issue: Fix chat.SE and chat.SO main page minimum width


Ok, here is a stylish script to fix a lot of the problems:
Screenshot: enter image description here


  • Sticky to top
  • Grey background
  • Simpler hierarchy

A lot of the code was copied from here.

  • 2
    The style is nice, but it is active for all sites, not just Stack Overflow/Exchange. To fix it, you can wrap the whole style in @-moz-document domain("stackoverflow.com"), domain("stackexchange.com"), domain("serverfault.com"), domain("superuser.com"), domain("stackapps.com"), domain("mathoverflow.net"), domain("askubuntu.com") { ... } - copied from here. – Kobi Jun 18 '18 at 10:24
  • 2
    @Kobi : Done . – Artemis still doesn't trust SE Jun 20 '18 at 18:53

First of all: +1 from me! The sidebar on the left is great. It makes the main column more centered and thus it is significantly better for comfortable reading (on a wide screen). Seriously - a bigger left margin is a remedy to the former layout.

Though I have a pair of minor suggestions.

Right sidebar & resizing the window ("responsive design")

Currently the right sidebar moves towards center when shrinking the window and then at some point - woop! it just dissapears. I see, this is kind of "responsive design". But is it possible to make it the other way: say if I shrink the window width, it would be better if the right sidebar at some moment starts to just 'clip' under the border. I mean it will just be clipping by the window border more and more when shrinking the window. And then, when it is away, the main column starts to shrink 'adaptively'.

Maybe it is hard to implement, but I beleive the users who need smaller views will much appreciate that. And there will be less rearrangement happening on the screen when resizing the window.

Also, the gap between the main column and the right sidebar is still too small. Please add ~ 15 pixels more spacing.

Maybe add something useful to the new sidebar?

Consider adding e.g. "My profile" and "Other SE sites" to the left sidebar - anyway there is a lot of space.


Left nav appears to misbehave on the Stack Overflow /jobs page in Edge (41.16299.15.0) browser

The side navbar seems to float into the job search results area when the window width exceeds approximately 1274px. See screenshots below -

Width at 1920px -

enter image description here

enter image description here

enter image description here

In Firefox it looks fine -

enter image description here

(Apologies in advance if this is a duplicate - I did search but couldn't find anything)

  • That's hella weird. I can repro in 41.x, but not 42.x. And the repro is only for logged in users... Edge still considered the links to be in the sidebar (that's where they're clickable), but the text is rendered mid-page for some reason. Weird. – Adam Lear Jul 6 '18 at 19:12
  • With help from balpha, got a fix pending. It should go out on Monday. Thanks for the report! – Adam Lear Jul 6 '18 at 21:15
  • Brilliant, and no worries! – Parrybird Jul 9 '18 at 8:05
  • The fix is out in prod. Let me know if you're still seeing any issues. – Adam Lear Jul 9 '18 at 18:30

I can't review edits in mobile properly

When I click an edit (1) link I get this popup centered in my screen. I cannot pan left to see what was removed or access any controls on the left side to change the view. I can pan right to see the full review and buttons, but that's not enough to be able to conduct a proper edit review.

enter image description here

enter image description here

  • 2
    Responsive is a work in progress. We haven't tackled these views yet. You would need to switch back to the mobile view for this to work. – Joe Friend Sep 19 '18 at 15:41

"Hide left navigation" does not actually hide the left navigation. Either hide it or rename the setting.

  • 9
    Yes, it does. You have to disable for every site for now. – Nog Shine Jun 13 '18 at 10:16
  • Ah ok, the post linked on home was on Meta and following that took me to the wrong preferences. – Alper Jun 13 '18 at 10:19

I think the left-bar should be collapsed by default as most logged in or anonymous user will see the same thing there. Also currently IMO it distracts the main question view. Or at the very least- as you resize the window down, the sidebar should be the first one to collapse. Currently the right hand panel moves to the bottom which is the second most important piece in this page (after the question).

I'm only talking about the question page. Other pages look brilliant with the sidebar. It's just in the question page where this new sidebar hurts my eye.


The search bar does not align with page contents and this is driving my design OCD crazy.

enter image description here


From the left navigation, if I select Unanswered option I can see the Questions and Unanswered options are selected.

I hope it should be highlight the Unanswered option only. It causes confusion which tab we are in now.

When hide the left navigation:

Questions and Unanswered

With the left navigation:

Questions and Unanswered

  • Unanswered also questions right? I think it they selected it by that basis. But yes, that will be confusing which tab you are on. – Nog Shine Jun 13 '18 at 5:38

I can't upload images on mobile

I get the option to hit the image upload button, but when I hit that button and choose my image, here's what I see next:

enter image description here

I cannot pan left or right or zoom out. The upload button is off screen. I can't reach it to upload my image.

Instead I have to switch on viewing this site in desktop mode in my mobile browser, and do my image upload that way:

enter image description here

  • 1
    We are actively working on making this experience responsive. Coming soon. ;) – Joe Friend Sep 19 '18 at 15:40

After I create a community event, I see this jumble of text:

Worldbuilding screenshot

The event view, which used to be multi-line, is now pushed into a table. That table must still fit within the (responsive) width of the pane. URLs are inherently long, and some event names are too. And the timing text is verbose. Result: lots of unfortunate line wrap (while there's extra room below), and the links are smooshed into the last column where they're harder to see.

For comparison, here is what this page looks like on a site with the old design:1

Workplace screenshot

Here the table is replaced with rows of text. The event name is on a line by itself. The next line contains the URL. Below that are the date information and who created it. Below that are the links. The display actually takes a little less vertical space than the tabular view, in addition to being much easier to read.

Could we have the line-based layout instead of the table layout on this page?

This bug was also reported on the post about beta/unthemed sites, but it exists on other sites with the new design so I'm raising it here too.

1 The Workplace is the last site where (a) the new design hasn't been done yet and (b) I have a diamond so I could do this test.


Just bite the bullet and build a platform level capability to support user templating similar to React. I don’t mean be like React specifically, or that complex really; I mean any kind of template syntax that makes it relatively easy layout the page and components and very simple theming with a high level syntax.

This would be a ridiculous and unnecessarily flexible feature for most sites, but this is a a developer site. People would love it and use it.

They wouldn’t even have to know the syntax, because they could just browse and copy an existing well designed and refined template from the ecosystem that would instantly appear without even any official support.

  • 6
    "This is a developer site". - Except this network is made up of 170+ sites with many users who are not developers. – Catija Jun 17 '18 at 3:21
  • @Catija So? First look at the activity. The % of users with technical knowledge sufficient to do this goes way beyond SO, and even with SO alone it's by far the largest community. Secondly, investing in something to serve so much of your user base well does not diminish growing other non-technical communities (although I bet you'd find people using in most stacks). You can argue it all you want, but I'd bet a little money if it was carefully explained to all stacks, including the downside, which is mostly opportunity cost of other potential enhancements, that it would get voted in. – whitneyland Jun 18 '18 at 10:36
  • 2
    "Voted in"? This isn't a democracy. It's a business. We don't really get a vote. The staff decides. – Catija Jun 18 '18 at 11:45
  • @Catija respectfully, weak refutation. It’s not the point I’m making. The point is, an important part of most business is when doing product/service design, focussing on whats most appealing to a broad set of users is crucial. Sure, you can say I may be guessing wrong about how to segment and prioritize user demand, but I not referring to government here or proposing a bill of rights. Thought experiments about what many users might want, or theoretically vote on, or whatever, are obsessed on throughout the business world. The business model is intertwined with all of this of course. – whitneyland Jun 18 '18 at 17:02
  • Sorry to rant but I think it’s important to note none of this is based on developer elitism. That would be the complete opposite of my philosophy. People always say when using apps, oh I messed up, I’m not very good with technology. I tell them messing up is an impossibility. It’s the developers/designers job to make it easy enough to make you successful at whatever scenario. We messed up, not them when this happens. Serious, just like some people think the customer is always right I’m obsessed with the idea that a user can’t screw up, we just have to iterate and do better and better. – whitneyland Jun 18 '18 at 17:15
  • Giving important sections of the page classes/id's that you can easily target would likely be good enough for most users who want to alter the look/feel of the site. We're even already most of the way there. – user400654 Jun 18 '18 at 19:24

In the left window the navigation thing is on. See how much unused space it steals from the main content of the site? I wanted to reclaim it fully by disabling the left side column. Instead even more space got stolen by the right side column which was hidden before but then appeared (in the right window).

Some (in the comments to this post) argue that the right sidebar needs its own space and it's fair how it steals that much space for itself. That's not what I wanted in this example, but I agree that sometimes that's what you'd want.

I think we can meet halfway by creating a vertical bar or a toggle button which collapses the right side widget when you want the questions to take up all the window space.

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    That was true of the old design too -- any space left on the page after the end of the HNQ list is empty. – Monica Cellio Jun 12 '18 at 18:13
  • On reddit, the posts and comments start using that space when the sidebar ends. So that's definitely possible to fix. – user1306322 Jun 12 '18 at 18:14
  • If you're saying that it's a conscious choice, then it was bad before and is bad now, in my opinion. – user1306322 Jun 12 '18 at 18:14
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    i mean, well, yeah, anything is "possible", doesn't make it the right design option though. – user400654 Jun 12 '18 at 18:15
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    It's not always a good thing to use all available space. It can look muddy and reading wide chunks of text can be quite difficult for some people. It's (generally) much easier for our eyes to read narrower columns than wider ones. – Catija Jun 12 '18 at 18:15
  • I guess I don't understand why the page becomes even narrower when the idea behind disabling the left nav was to increase available space for the main site's content. I can't be the only person on the site who uses half-monitor windows to look at 2 windows at the same time. I'll post the scripts to fix this nonsense if I need to, but I think it really should be the official option. – user1306322 Jun 12 '18 at 18:16
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    It's all about available space. If there's enough space for the right menu, it will display. If there isn't, it will be placed below the answers (until they incorporate it more into the main column for that browser size in a later update.) There's nothing crazy going on here; by disabling the left menu there's now enough space to show the right one. Why wouldn't it show? – user400654 Jun 12 '18 at 18:20
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    As a fix if you just don't want the right bar, you could just set that div to display none, then set the width of the mainbar to 100%. – user400654 Jun 12 '18 at 18:23
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