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This post will be updated as the responsive design and left navigation layouts are released on each site.

Previously, we tried this out by releasing still screenshots of the site designs and getting input on them and then releasing them live. This was problematic because users couldn't actually interact with the sites and we'd get feedback on several sites in one place, which was more difficult to follow. It also meant the sites were public with some bugs that didn't show up in testing.

We decided to revamp this process when we released the design for Photography and created a way to let users opt-in to preview the site design before it was live to everyone. Joe talks more about this here. This gives us the chance to make bug fixes before we release the designs to everyone.

To give feedback on these designs: follow the link below to that site's child meta post announcing the design.

To give feedback on responsive design and left navigation: refer to either this existing post or, for more history on the process, this older one.

To read our explanation for these changes: review Why we initiated the latest round of design changes and the role of meta. If you have any feedback for how we can do better at keeping you informed, let us know there.


Live for everyone:

  • 2
    Part of the motivation for standardizing layouts was to make it easier to provide custom themes for sites that don't currently have one. Yet it seems all of the sites in this post currently have a theme. When do you expect to provide new custom themes to unthemed sites? – Jeffrey Bosboom Sep 1 '18 at 20:35
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    @JeffreyBosboom After the existing site layouts are updated, all of the network will have the unified design (the beta theme will be rolled out to all undesigned sites eventually) and then we'll start working on the sites with no design. We need to get the baseline in place before we roll out entirely new designs. – Catija Sep 1 '18 at 21:17
  • @Rubén it could be that unthemed sites are not listed. Portuguese Language isn't listed either. – ANeves Sep 19 '18 at 14:10
  • @ANeves: I made a mistake on one of the smart links, instead of Russian Language it should be Русский язык which is unthemed but the other four sites are themed. – Rubén Sep 19 '18 at 14:23
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    @Rubén To be honest, it's because I'm not sure what the plan is for them. I'm guessing they'll eventually get the same design as SO, so technically they're "complete" but not rolled out, but they're not getting Teams, as far as I'm aware, so they're not really "finished" since that module is excluded. I'm checking on it and will update when I have an answer. – Catija Sep 19 '18 at 14:26
  • Thanks. I hope that the new theme(s) will not bring "new" localization issues (i.e. usually Spanish requires larger strings / text boxes). Also I hope that the themes will not be the same in order to help to minimize posts on the wrong language) – Rubén Sep 19 '18 at 14:31
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    @Rubén We're testing them internally and will probably be rolling them out live (not in testing) on Thursday or Friday. We're not making new themes, just reworking the existing ones, so they're getting the same as SO, which they've had for a while, as far as I'm aware. – Catija Sep 19 '18 at 22:45
  • Thank you for the update and for including these sites on the list :) – Rubén Sep 19 '18 at 22:57
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    Thanks for the reminder @ChristianRau :) As a note, if I forget, y'all are more than welcome to edit it. ;) – Catija Sep 26 '18 at 23:20
  • @Catija - I don't see Mechanics listed anywhere ... what gives? – Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 Oct 18 '18 at 1:18
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    @Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 This list has all of the beta/default theme sites together as they share the same layout. Only sites with custom designs are listed individually. – Catija Oct 18 '18 at 1:26
  • @Catija - Makes sense ... that's probably spelled out somewhere and I didn't see it. My apologies :o) – Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 Oct 18 '18 at 1:28
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    It would be useful to add what exactly determines the transition between the beta testing and live phases. For example, I have the impression that ELU has been in the beta phase for a time longer than that of the other sites. – Massimo Ortolano Nov 9 '18 at 19:27
  • @MassimoOrtolano There's not an actual... "policy"... As you can probably tell, we haven't actually switched any over to live for everyone in a while. We're going to start doing that now that everything is in testing. ... but mostly it's a judgement call. If the bugs that have been reported are generally fixed, or there aren't any complaints, the site goes live for everyone. If there are major bugs or unaddressed issues, it stays in beta until we can fix them. – Catija Nov 26 '18 at 20:43

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