Because the current location of the “Ask question” button is inconsistent, we want to move it. But first, we’re testing the proposed new location to ensure we don’t negatively impact question asking.
Today we’ve enabled an experiment that moves our “Ask question” button to the left navigation, instead of its current position of “kinda off to the right somewhere”.
We’re doing so to address the inconsistencies in its current placement. In some contexts, it’s all the way to the right. In others, it wraps with the page title. Sometimes it’s in the sidebar—and on the smallest screens it’s above the question title. This can lead to some rather strange white space. Now, this designer loves white space, but prefers it to be consistent. These inconsistencies have made working across the platform and supporting multiple product areas difficult.
We think putting the ask a question button in the left nav will be a more consistent spot for it. We also prefer the hierarchy of page layout in that position. But of course, we want to test it to make sure we’re not negatively impacting the question asking experience.
Let’s have a look at some screenshots.
Question home page
Stack Overflow for Teams
Responsive (small screens)
If you have enabled “Hide left navigation” via your profile settings or are viewing on a mobile device, the “Ask question” button will appear inside the hamburger menu instead of being visible on the page itself. This experiment won’t tease out the impact on this specific subset of users. We aren’t able to track which users are viewing question pages from a smaller-sized responsive window. We are able to track users who have the left navigation hidden, but because only 0.3% of users have this setting enabled, we won’t have a big enough sample size to draw any meaningful conclusions.
For the experiment, we are sampling page views at 2%. Half of this group will see the current design and half will see the test variation. To measure the impact of this change, we’ll compare the conversion rate of viewing a page => clicking the ask question button => submitting a question.
The experiment ran from Dec. 2 to Jan. 4.
There was no significant difference in the number of users who clicked the Ask Question button when the button appeared in the current position (control) or in the left nav (treatment). There was also no difference between the two variants in the number of users who actually asked a question.