We’ve removed the option to disable the fixed top bar. We didn’t change the default. We’ve only removed the ability to change the default.
According to SEDE, we’ve got ~13k users with the fixed top bar disabled. To put this into context, 730k people have opted into either system or dark theme.
There are lots of smaller features that aren’t frequently used, but they don’t routinely introduce bugs in the way that this one has. Since this preference has caused more bugs than we’d like to admit, I’ve made the decision on behalf of front-end at Stack Overflow to kill it.
If you see anything that seems funky as a result of us unshipping this, please add an answer here and include your browser, version and OS.
Apologies for the delay. Managing a post on Meta can be a full time job on its own. Meta can be a difficult platform to have a dialog on. The irony is not lost on me.
I understand your frustration with removing this preference, but this will not be reversed. The fixed header provides the user valuable context and navigation. This can mean things like switching between Teams, joining a network site, joining a collective, signing up or logging into the site, receiving notifications, checking a review queue, getting help, navigating to your settings... These are important actions for our users. We want them to persist regardless of page position, whether visiting a page outright, or being deeplinked to an answer or a comment. We think the 50px required to provide this context is acceptable, even on small screens.
Fixed headers are an established pattern across the web and apps. You’ll find fixed headers on Reddit, Quora, Nextdoor, CNN, Vice, Craigslist, LinkedIn, Gmail, Jira, Facebook, Pinterest, Walmart, PayPal, TikTok, and YouTube—to name a few. There are two popular and notable exceptions, Amazon, and some pages of GitHub. I’m sure each of these companies have varying reasons for adopting this pattern.
In the original post, I was too focused on what the feature was costing our development team.
In Oded’s original post, he called out:
We are taking on a bit of debt by maintaining two versions of something that exists everywhere
He was right. The costs of tech and design debt are real, but so are the benefits of greater user context.