-433

Update 1 - 2022-01-25

Most of the reported bugs have been squashed. We're currently gathering together all the and feedback items to decide how we want to alter the design. Thank you everyone for your feedback.


Original Post

tl;dr

We’re starting a rollout of the new post summary design to many existing screens, starting with greatest hits. This will be a slow rollout, with only one set of related screens changing at a time.

What we’re shipping now

We’ve built a new component to replace the existing post summary implementation. We aimed for ~100% data compatibility with this implementation so that users are not losing any statistics or features. That being said, our desire to leave the existing data intact as much as possible has led to sub-optimal layouts in a few uncommon scenarios, particularly for the display of community wiki posts. Work on these experiences is ongoing and will improve over time.

For the initial announcement, we’ve migrated /questions/greatest-hits to use the new implementation. This way, users can have a tangible example they can use today, before we roll out the design to more and more screens. Why did we choose greatest hits to start with? It was an ideal screen for many reasons:

  • Entirely standalone - no dependencies on other screens/processes and not depended on
  • Low user impact - low traffic, infrequently referenced and not terribly well known (even among employees!)
  • Uses the exact same component code and layout as /questions - users can see this as a very close preview for what will be shipping there later on
  • In disrepair - the screen was already showing some signs of neglect and really needed some love <3

Before

post summary before

After

post summary after

What we’re shipping later

In addition to greatest hits, we’re aiming to roll this new design out site-wide. The areas we’re concentrating on first are the main areas of the site that still have mobile-only layouts. As we remove our final mobile views, we need to ensure that the remaining responsive views actually look good on smaller screens. More specifically, the following high traffic views are next on our list:

  • / (home / recent questions) - our “QuestionMini” layout questionmini layout
  • /questions/* (question list, list by tag, search, etc) - our “QuestionSummary” layout
    questionsummary layout

Work on these screens has progressed fairly far already due to most of the necessary work being in the creation and implementation of the underlying component. However, we’ve decided to hold off on the rollout until after the community has had an opportunity for processing the design changes and to offer us feedback.

Eventually, everything will be the new post-summary design, but it may be some time before the changes reach the long tail of our many different views.

Where we are currently using this design

Despite my claims above that this is a “new” design, we’ve been using it in a number of places across the site for quite some time. A (non-inclusive) list of places that are already using the post-summary design:

Why we’re making these changes

Our current designs have withstood the test of time, but they fall short in many areas:

  1. We generally assume 3 items of metadata: score, answers, and views. If we want to add new entries for e.g. bookmarks or revisions, it can be difficult to create a consistent layout in a list of questions.
  2. Inconsistencies in implementation have led to several different layouts across the site. When gathering requirements for a unified post summary component, we found at least 5 (five!) different layouts.
  3. Scaling the design is tricky, both in window size and adding features and functionality. We need to support all sorts of metadata on all sorts of devices.
  4. Our post summaries were only designed to support questions (and answers, kinda). We need to be able to display various content types in single lists. For example, in a list of notifications, we may want to present an article next to a question.
  5. We have no unified place to put an action menu.

Our new post-summary design solves these problems while supporting future features we’re exploring. Some features we’re looking forward to are:

  1. An arbitrary, scalable number of stats
  2. Multiple different content types
  3. A consistent location for post actions
  4. Scalable excerpts
  5. Responsive layouts
  6. A single consistent layout regardless of what data is included

How this component was designed

An early version of this component first appeared in Stack Overflow for Teams in a feature called For You. For You is a rich list of notifications that include questions, answers, and articles.

The existing designs were desirable for familiarity, but just weren’t well suited for the task. After the initial proposal and some iterations with our team of designers, the new post summary design was ready for user testing.

User testing was run with ~170 recently active users against 5 different versions of the post summary design (two of those being existing designs). The chosen design performed better than the existing designs in some metrics (including readability) and never worse on the remaining metrics (including familiarity, data absorption).

After this new design tested well, the design systems team gathered further requirements from across the organization and built it out as an official Stacks component. If you’re technically inclined, you can see some of the iterations in various open source pull requests.

If you’re familiar with the design tool Figma, feel free to check out some explorations prior to us moving into code.

FAQ

Q: What if I find a bug/regression?
A: Report it as an answer to this post - one bug per answer please. If you’re feeling charitable, add a [tag:bug] tag to the top of your post so we can more easily find it.

Q: What if I have constructive feedback, but it isn’t a bug?
A: We’d like to hear it! Add it as an answer on this post. As above, you can add a [tag:discussion] tag to the top of the post as well.

Q: When will FAVORITE_SCREEN be migrated to use this new design?
A: 6-8 weeks

95
  • 120
    I wish more work went into improving the UX instead of the UI.
    – Travis J
    Jan 12 at 22:34
  • 130
    I sure don't like it; much harder to see the metadata on the home page. yesterday
  • 134
    This layout makes the desktop experience on the homepage worse, due to a lower information density displayed at once on the screen (# questions per screen), more difficult to parse and smaller statistics, too much padding between list items, misaligned tag and user bars with the bottom of the question block
    – illustro
    yesterday
  • 112
    Is it just me or does anyone hates these changes to the feed and profile? I say "hate", because they're ruining the desktop experience. yesterday
  • 46
    @BernardoDuarte the rapidly declining score on this post says "yes". As we've seen before though, score on announcements means nothing
    – Phil
    yesterday
  • 98
    I honestly don't see how this can be considered an improvement. It's harder to find information from a glance and it looks incredibly unbalanced.
    – Ambo100
    yesterday
  • 98
    It's horrible in nearly every way. Not a single improvement to my experience and several things which are worse.
    – takendarkk
    yesterday
  • 72
    Why do UX changes always make things harder to read and digest sigh
    – Alan Dev
    yesterday
  • 56
    The change to add ignored tags with a black background, just to make questions you want to ignore stand out even more is ridiculous and bad UX design
    – illustro
    yesterday
  • 59
    While it was great that you released this on the Greatest Hits page first for us to poke around with, there's a fundamental problem with that, and it's why so many people are upset now: no one uses the Greatest Hits page. It's not part of anyone's regular workflow, so it's harder for us to see how the new design will break our workflows. People aren't used to using it, so if information is a little awkward to acquire, or certain use-cases aren't served, it's difficult for us to see it. I don't have a solution, just wanted to point out why the pre-release didn't end up being that useful.
    – bobble
    yesterday
  • 96
    While I appreciate the effort that's gone into this, it's really disappointing how consistently any UI changes to the site actually make the experience worse. It seems like every change is a net regression. Do the staff just think our consistent complaining is because people hate change? Because it's much more than that. Almost every change is a significant step backwards in some respects. This change seems to have a number of objective flaws. I feel like all the effort that's spent twiddling with a layout that's always been fine could be put to better use.
    – Michael
    yesterday
  • 39
    I've created a userscript that brings back the old design.
    – Spectric
    yesterday
  • 71
    In the name of everything that you hold sacred, please revert this!. My brain hurts trying to process this layout. There's way too much empty space and a tiny vote count is purely awful!
    – jojek
    yesterday
  • 68
    As a Stack Overflow old-time developer. Don't come to the community with solutions. Come to the community with a problem statement and an idea and iterate. This way you'll get a better solution than this and you won't get massive downvotes. Remember: most people here are (a) better stack overflow experts than you or me and (b) better developers too. Give them a chance.
    – Sklivvz
    yesterday
  • 31
    "While it was great that you released this on the Greatest Hits page first for us to poke around with, there's a fundamental problem with that, and it's why so many people are upset now: no one uses the Greatest Hits page." I have been around for over 11 years, and this meta.SE question is literally the first time I have ever heard about a "greatest hits" page. Staring at the current Stack Overflow interface, I have absolutely no clue how one is intended to navigate there, other than by manually entering the URL. So... no wonder nobody uses it. yesterday

69 Answers 69

384

I cared about question scores, but now my head hurts.

On the previous layout, I could quickly survey the question scores by reading down the votes column:

enter image description here

Now, I simply cannot quickly survey the front page for question scores, as those scores are quite small and buried between other information:

enter image description here

To me, this is a complete loss of functionality of scores on the front page. Trying to read the scores on the page, quite literally, makes my eyes and head hurt.

So I guess I can word this as a : please change it back.

30
  • 16
    If "don't fix what isn't broken" fits your theme it would be a nice BLUF. Up to you... yesterday
  • 85
    Also: view count now more prominent than score. I fear this is by design, and popularity is deemed more important than quality…
    – Bergi
    yesterday
  • 8
    Given views and answers, on top and bottom, both change colors based on status, and score doesn't, by default deemphasizes the score (also... it's score... not votes... feel like we've had this discussion)
    – Kevin B
    yesterday
  • 39
    So who is going to be the first to create a greasemonkey script to fix this atrocious redesign? yesterday
  • 3
    It makes sense from a lets have one design for everything perspective. Even bounties show up in the left statistic area now. One design for everything doesn't often produce the best design for each individual usecase.
    – Kevin B
    yesterday
  • 4
    @SurpriseDog Glorfindel! Hear our prayers! yesterday
  • 85
    Agreed completely, previous layout made much more sense. If there's a problem with mobile, then change it on mobile. Leave us desktop folks alone.
    – Brad
    yesterday
  • 6
    However this is not how these numerical data are used. They have been playing a much more primary role in a user's decision to view a question or not, and have an importance closer to the title than the tags or the most recent activity. Thus they deserve the more prominent position in the older design.
    – Elliot Yu
    yesterday
  • 61
    What is the point of SE at all if you can't actually see the votes? Might as well be quora. yesterday
  • 22
    I'm personally fine with making votes small and unobtrusive; I don't think a post's score is anywhere near as important as a question's title, or even tags. But I'm with @Elliot as to the core problem: by losing the ability to "read down" within a single type of data (score / answers / views) the work involved in extracting information is greatly increased - for each line, I have to read vs. scan to determine the meaning of the number my eyes land on. Could probably relegate the text (answers / votes / views) to column headers and achieve a similar savings in real estate...
    – Shog9
    yesterday
  • 7
    (Also probably worth noting that this only really matters for the home page; question pages haven't been great in this regard for a long time, although the smaller text makes it hurt more; profiles were apparently already trashed when it came to tabular scanning a few months ago. We ... can at least be thankful that the question pages won't be as bad as question/answer lists in the new profile. I hadn't seen that until now; having done so, I suddenly like this design better. Good lord, what a flaming trainwreck.)
    – Shog9
    yesterday
  • 8
    The scores are also incorrectly labelled as "votes" in the summary. ”Purveyors of fine cheese!” doesn't have 49 votes; it has 56 (+52/-3). Its score is 49. yesterday
  • 10
    @Shog9 I think the score is pretty important... if there's a negative score in an area I know about, I like to go in and try to fix it, or at least leave constructive comments for the person who asked the question. (Because, few else seem to care to do this, and I'd rather help people than just obliterate their posts outright.) If there's a zero-score or low-score, it's probably a new question or a question that hasn't received any attention, and I like to look at it to see if I can answer, or close as duplicate as necessary.
    – Brad
    yesterday
  • 12
    The order of the information changed, too, not just the orientation. It went from votes, answers, views to answers, votes, views. Of course votes are the most important of these for a community web site; they're the community driven sorting mechanism. yesterday
  • 4
    In a way, I am grateful for this change. It may actually improve my productivity! It's so hideous I'll probably quit procrastinating by scrolling through SE so often! >:D (jk) 4 hours ago
373
+100

Revert this

As critical feedback goes this is probably the sharpest I've delivered, but this change is neither needed nor warranted. It doesn't make me enjoy using the site on desktop, which is what I do during the course of my day.

It strains my eyes a bit to have to read the smaller text of the title, compared with the even smaller text of the other information I'm not sure I need to know in the moment.

Revert this, and revisit this. This UX is not good.

17
  • 48
    It doesn't look good on mobile either. I really don't see what the improvement was.
    – Dharman
    yesterday
  • 39
    @Makoto Congratulations, after a few days of this question being bountied, I plan to award my bounty to you, as I want this change GONE and the previous design back. I completely agree that it should be reverted, so you will probably get the bounty.
    – cocomac
    yesterday
  • 34
    I only entered to meta to verify that I was not the only one who found the new design absolutely terrible, now I am calmer
    – borchvm
    yesterday
  • 8
    I miss the summaries or excerpts that were added beneath the title, the front page now just looks ... cheap. yesterday
  • 1
    @LasseV.Karlsen There never was summary text on the home page. This has been mentioned before. yesterday
  • 4
    @SebastianSimon But I have seen summaries on Stack Overflow, and now they're gone. I can't see them anywhere. I guess my bookmark was not to the main home page. yesterday
  • 16
    This is all that needs to be said. And while you're at it, SE, bring back the old profile view. Stop making this website worse and worse with every change.
    – Paolo
    yesterday
  • 8
    Old design was functional and easier on eyes. Both homepage and profile page seem less informative to me now.
    – B200011011
    yesterday
  • 1
    @SebastianSimon /questions was the default homepage for people when logged in, IIRC.
    – TylerH
    yesterday
  • 1
    Amazing that they can implement all these changes that make it harder to identify relevant questions but I still have to manually remove deleted questions from my Followed list.
    – Mr. T
    yesterday
  • 2
    I was surprised to see the original post having a high score when I initially saw it. For a second, I almost thought I was just being difficult to changes. Thanks, you made me feel like my distaste of the new design wasn't just me being a hard head.
    – Clockwork
    yesterday
  • 3
    @Zombo in fairness to Ben, I know for a fact that plenty of SE employees maintain multiple accounts--we don't know that the human behind "Ben" doesn't use SE, we just know this account doesn't use SE. That said, I do not dispute the notion that SE, generally, needs to understand its own product better. I've said as much here: meta.stackexchange.com/a/346437/311001.
    – nitsua60
    18 hours ago
  • 8
    This change still hasn't been reverted. A bigger bounty coming your way @Makoto (I'll award it within the next week, just to get some more attention on this post)
    – cocomac
    14 hours ago
  • 3
    This is the only reasonable thing to do. To revert and to forget about this
    – demonplus
    10 hours ago
  • 1
    If they don't want to revert it, at least make it an option in the account settings. Same thing as the bar on the left that I hid since it appeared.
    – Clockwork
    3 hours ago
212

Ridiculous amounts of vertical white space on watched and/or bountied questions.

red boxes showing all the extra white space

The old design had no problem fitting all of that information in the same vertical space as the title and tags, so this feels like a huge step backwards in that regard.

This could at least be partly mitigated by simply reverting to how questions with watched tags used to work (i.e. the colored background).

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15
  • 19
    Totally agree the amount of unnecessary padding and vertical white space reduces the amount of questions I can see at once and diminishes my site experience
    – illustro
    yesterday
  • 8
    ugh, I agree. One of the justifications for deploying this design was to support an increasing number of stats for each question. But this answer is the reason why we should not have more than 3 at most. yesterday
  • 3
    The first one (Bounty + watched) would look even worse if the question was a single line, which it easily could be. It would be like 2/3rds wasted.
    – Michael
    yesterday
  • 1
    This empty space could be filled by the summary text that they removed but apparently that's not coming back!
    – phuzi
    yesterday
  • 2
    The watched tag background not being highlighted anymore is really annoying
    – Jungkook
    yesterday
  • 4
    @phuzi There never was summary text on the home page. This has been mentioned before. yesterday
  • And [watched] is yellow. Someone needs to read Edward Tufte.
    – Jeff Holt
    yesterday
  • 6
    "Hey, you probably haven't noticed the list of watched tags to your right, so LOOK AT ME I AM YELLOW!" All this makes me want to do is remove my entire list of watched tags.
    – Jeff Holt
    yesterday
  • 1
    @Michael Here's an example of how that looks like.
    – 41686d6564
    yesterday
  • At what point those blank spaces improve something? Even If there are some improvement of the new design that I have not seen yet, the importance of those new blank spaces is evident
    – borchvm
    yesterday
  • And if we are going to have a [watched] tag are we going to have [followed]? What about [favorite]? Any others? I hate it yesterday
  • 7
    @ChrisRogers The idea of the change was "support an indefinite number of labels". I guess no one stopped to think "what if an indefinite number of labels looks completely stupid?"
    – Michael
    yesterday
  • Agree, amount of blank space is huge. Why should we look at blank space?
    – demonplus
    10 hours ago
  • The number of stats themselves is not the problem. They could just be placed horizontally over the title and we would still save space.
    – idmean
    9 hours ago
  • The bounty indicator could be perhaps inlined into the title. (The “Watched” and “Ignored” labels are gone, good riddance.) 3 hours ago
147

tl;dr: Please don't do this to question lists; the motivation is invalid.

We’re starting a rollout of the new post summary design

Please stop the rollout - on question list pages anyway; the new design for question lists is worse than the existing one.

Our current designs ... fall short ... :

  • We generally assume 3 items of metadata: score, answers, and views. If we want to add new entries for e.g. bookmarks or revisions, it can be difficult to create a consistent layout in a list of questions.

And difficult it should be. It is tempting to "stuff" more meta-data into the question list, but there are diminishing returns. It would make more sense to have an alternative question list view with more meta-data, used when someone indicates that they want that meta-data.

  • Inconsistencies in implementation have led to several different layouts across the SE network. When gathering requirements for a unified post summary component, we found at least 5 (five!) different layouts.

That's orthogonal to changing the basic design of question lists, which is mostly (or fully?) uniform across the site. If that design needs to be changed, explain why, then change it; if it doesn't - address whatever inconsistencies you find.

  • Scaling the design is tricky, both in window size and adding features and functionality. We need to support all sorts of metadata on all sorts of devices.

I don't see what's tricky; and that challenge has already been met for many years. Also, you should not aim for a question list packed with a bunch more data and features.

  • Our post summaries were only designed to support questions (and answers, kinda).

I don't know what post summaries are, I'm referring to the question list design. If you mean question titles, then - yes, StackExchange is a network of Q&A sites. Are you saying you intend to change this? For existing sites even? I hope not...

  • We need to be able to display various content types in single lists.

No you don't. Or rather, not in the question list. The question list needs to display questions and a bit of meta-data about them, and it has done so reasonably well.

  • For example, in a list of notifications, we may want to present an article next to a question.

Please don't force the design of a list of notifications on the list of questions.

  • Our new post-summary design solves these problems while supporting future features we’re exploring.

As I've explained above, you have not presented problems with the question list design. So, the new design solves problems which may exist for other lists/pages, not the question list. That's a poor reason for changing the question list design.

Some features we’re looking forward to are:

It's nice that you're working on some generic item-summary-list design, but don't work on it at the expense of the acceptable/good design for question lists we have had so far.

2
  • 5
    Every single point in this is spot on.
    – illustro
    yesterday
  • 3
    The weirdest part about this to me is that they talk about the changes as if they were intended to improve visual consistency ("We need different kinds of lists to have the same underlying design! For some reason!"), but that aspect of things just got noticeably worse. yesterday
141

It is very hard to ignore my ignored questions.

Could you come up with something more subtle than an ostentatious black box leading the way, such as the post highlighting/greying we used before that worked perfectly fine?

enter image description here

If I have my ignored tags set up to still be visible on the page, ignoring should make the post less imposing (like the old greying out did), not more imposing by adding an eyesore of a black box.

That said, after some experimentation I prefer the black ignored tag to the gross yellow watched tag for watching tags, so I’ve ignored my watched tags for now.

6
  • 44
    It's also worth pointing out that on desktop, the new ignored/watched tags make the questions take up more vertical space. So if you ignore a tag, questions with that tags now take up more screen space, with a coloured tag highlighting the now larger question...making it extra visible.
    – illustro
    yesterday
  • 11
    I came here to post this exact same thing. The "ignored" bar is the single most attention-grabbing thing on the page. In fact I'm missing the posts I actually want to see between the ignored posts. It's successfully made all the other questions subdued by comparison. I didn't have this trouble with the previous layout—ignored posts were just faded out and that was that! yesterday
  • 3
    If you click on the “edit” button in the “Ignored Tags” sidebar section on the home page, there’s a radio button setting of “Hide questions in your ignored tags” vs. “Gray out questions in your ignored tags”. Isn’t it an option for you to simply hide these posts? yesterday
  • 17
    @SebastianSimon That's somewhat missing the point - if the option to "gray out" is still there, its effect should not be to make the questions more prominent.
    – IMSoP
    yesterday
  • 5
    @SebastianSimon Also, while I might want to ignore the tags most of the time, occasionally there might be a title I find interesting enough to look into, or a situation where a new user might need some help with their question (new user plus downvoted score can indicate this)
    – illustro
    yesterday
  • 3
    We have partially reverted the label approach, but kept all of the other changes for ignored entries. Additionally, the titles themselves were intended to be muted as well, but weren't. We've addressed this in the latest round of changes.
    – Ben Kelly StaffMod
    21 hours ago
121

It's an old bug, but might be worth revisiting: the wording votes is wrong, it should be score.

The number that is displayed is not the number of votes on a post, but rather the score derived from number of upvotes and number of downvotes. Controversial posts can have a huge number of votes but still a score around 0.

If some countable noun is desired, maybe "net votes"?

5
  • 4
    Also recently mentioned in New responsive Activity page.
    – bad_coder
    Jan 15 at 19:20
  • 14
    I agree that it should probably be called score. However, I'm currently considering that beyond the scope of this change since the new layout is maintaining the status quo in regards to data shown / wording. My recommendation for passers by would be to support the linked meta post. In the meanwhile, I'll raise this suggestion internally to talk about our options. This may seem like a super easy change, but that's deceptive. We have to ensure the wording is consistent everywhere cross-site, which will in turn invalidate a lot of translations for our non-English Stack Overflows.
    – Ben Kelly StaffMod
    Jan 19 at 15:22
  • 7
    This is already on our backlog and I think it's being looked at right now.
    – Catija StaffMod
    yesterday
  • 6
    The problem with this, is that when you read a number and after that a word, you take in your mind that is a whole.. if you read a number, and under it a word, you take the word as a title for the number... this is in fact, everywhere.. so is not a wording problem... is a showing problem....
    – gbianchi
    yesterday
  • If we would remove downvotes instead, we could also leave the wording as it is... Otherwise we should really change the wording rather sooner than later. Did really nobody realize the mistake internally before the change going public?
    – Trilarion
    5 hours ago
100

This design just hit live for the main page of Meta SE (this page, for clarity) and I've noticed that we've lost a pretty useful bit - The most recent activity notation next to the question listing.

When a post receives a modification (an edit, reopening, etc.) it "bumps" that post on the front page, and will display a "modified" notation along with the user (or Community if it was a deleted user/bumped by Community) who modified the post. That "modified" notation is clickable, and will take you to the post (answer or question) within that entry that was modified.

Here's what that looked like:

Image of old design with a modified link

That link was profoundly useful when navigating to an answer that was modified on a question with many answers (multiple pages of answers), and it feels like an oversight that it's no longer available. It allowed a user to at-a-glance see who changed the post, and be able to quickly click the link to see what was changed.

For an example, I've just bumped this question with this answer, and the home page only indicates the date that this question was asked:

Current design, with the "asked on (date)" notation only

Which leaves the question of why this post was bumped unclear.

Could we restore that functionality?

8
  • 4
    That was added in 2014 in response to this feature request. yesterday
  • 17
    Nice catch, I'd definitely consider this a regression. We do have support for this functionality written into the new component, it just isn't getting triggered for this instance. I took another look at the old view and found where the logic differs. I'll get a fix out for this today.
    – Ben Kelly StaffMod
    yesterday
  • 9
    Note that this isn't JUST "bumped" posts on the home page - the normal question views also support this, including tag views (although irritatingly, search results do not).
    – Shog9
    yesterday
  • 4
    @Shog9 Yup, I'm aware of all those and they'll have this enabled when their migration goes live. I'm using the same feature here - it's literally a boolean to turn on. The migrated logic for this particular implementation was incorrect, so it wasn't triggering. Regarding search results, I'm working on the migration for those now - I'll check to see if it makes sense to turn on support there as well ;).
    – Ben Kelly StaffMod
    yesterday
  • 10
    This has been fixed and rolled out cross network
    – Ben Kelly StaffMod
    yesterday
  • 4
    @BenKelly this is still broken when loading newly active questions on-the-spot (clicking on "X questions with recent activity")
    – bobble
    yesterday
  • 4
    "Which leaves the question of why this post was bumped unclear." I want to see both. I hate when I am browsing by newest, see something with recent activity, start reading the question, want to ask OP for a clarification... and then notice that the question is years old and OP is presumably not coming back. yesterday
  • Never mind the link, just showing the "modified" time enabled me to see what had new activity since my last visit. Thank God that got fixed quick!
    – Matthew
    20 hours ago
100

Wow, no text summaries for the questions anymore?

Frankly, this is the most awful change I've ever seen on Stack Overflow. There's no other way to put it. It makes it very difficult to browse now.

This has to be a bug, right?

Update: See comments below from Ben and Catija. You can get the old view by using the "Questions" link on the left nav.

Bad Question Display

27
  • 2
    @KevinB Can you think of something worse?
    – Brad
    yesterday
  • 16
    I hope its a bug. it really is hard to read since everything is almost the same size. yesterday
  • 3
    If it's not an outright bug, it feels like some dark pattern stuff. "Let's increase the number of click-throughs to questions. How do we hit some [arbitrary metric] before [arbitrary time]? I know..."
    – Brad
    yesterday
  • 23
    So, the home/recent questions page this post is referring to has never had text summaries. See the screenshots in the original post, specifically QuestionMini. We did actually considering adding body excerpts on that page, but decided to punt on it to maintain the status quo. See the questions/greatest-hits page for an example of what it looks like with excerpts.
    – Ben Kelly StaffMod
    yesterday
  • 2
    Can't please everyone, huh? :) related yesterday
  • 19
    Nah, the home page doesn't have descriptions - that's one of the reasons I like it so much - it's compact, focused on titles only. The /questions view is the one that's always had summaries.
    – Catija StaffMod
    yesterday
  • 4
    @Catija Weird... I don't think I've ever used the "questions" page or left nav... so whatever link I was following before (which I thought was the logo) must not go to it anymore. Anyway, that solves it for me, thanks.
    – Brad
    yesterday
  • 2
    I have my left navigation hidden, but now I need it to see summaries :-(
    – Adám
    yesterday
  • 19
    @BenKelly I have to say that I could not believe this page never had snippets in the first place, so I went to check the web archive, and indeed, it never had snippets, which I still cannot believe. The old design just looked... I don't know, complete? And the new design just looks... as if it has been stripped of something important, which I guess translates to the feeling that the snippets are missing even though they aren't. It must be a massive blunder in design if the same amount of information used to look complete, and now doesn't.
    – GSerg
    yesterday
  • 4
    @GSerg I made the exact same mistake and probably for the same reason. It just looks like something must be missing. yesterday
  • 5
    @BryanKrause And something is indeed missing - the yellowish background for the watched tags and the grayed out ignored tags. It looks as a continuous white sheet without that, with nothing for the eye to catch on. Hopefully it is indeed status-planned and will be brought back, the current Watched label is absolutely hideous and does not serve the purpose of visually splitting the page into areas of interest.
    – GSerg
    yesterday
  • 3
    I don't understand why / and /questions even have a separate existence in the first place. As far as I can tell, right now they are the same content, presented two different ways. yesterday
  • 2
    Why can't I instead, like, configure it so that / shows me my preferred filter? Why aren't those features you describe, that "remove some content from visibility", explicit options offered to me when I create my own filter? Why shouldn't I be able to specify or update filters on every page that shows me a question list? What good are "subtle" features attached to a page presenting the same sort of data with totally separate layout rules and interface? I thought consistency was an expressly stated goal here? yesterday
  • 2
    @BenKelly Your comments about excerpts don't square with my experience. I have always used / as a path. I changed nothing. But excerpts are gone now. Either you are wrong about /, or there was some additional state (cookies?) that modified the view of /. This matters, because the page loses almost all of its utility without excerpts. (Why any view would eliminate excerpts and attempt to rely on the VLQ titles typical of SO baffles me, but that's a different issue.)
    – erickson
    yesterday
  • 5
    There were excerpts on my home page. I feel like I'm being gaslit with everyone insisting there weren't. There were, there absolutely were. It must be some user setting. I know I had excerpts at https://stackoverflow.com, not any sub-page, because my SOP for 10 years has been to click on any post starting with "Hi", "Hello", or "So..." and edit that stuff out. 22 hours ago
95

It appears that the view count is now more important than the vote count. Previously, score and answer count were larger numbers, with a font size equivalent to that of the question title.

Maybe this impression is just caused from greatest hits being, well, greatest hits by view count and thereby all questions in that list having the 🔥 "supernova" icon, but the orange highlight makes it stand out too much. Should a similar emphasis be put on questions with >10, >100 or >1000 votes?

7
  • 9
    Yes please to increasing the font sizes on score and answer values to be more like current. Especially in search result lists. Context of the list matters.
    – charlietfl
    Jan 15 at 18:36
  • 4
    This is a good point. In most of the preexisting post summary layouts, view count was deemphasized. The greatest hits page does somewhat exacerbate the problem, but (imo) it looks much better in normal circumstances. I'll bring this up internally, but for now I'm going to mark this as "by design".
    – Ben Kelly StaffMod
    Jan 19 at 15:30
  • 16
    @BenKelly I would respectfully disagree that it looks better in "normal" circumstances, particularly on the main Questions page.
    – illustro
    yesterday
  • 27
    Why does view count need to be highlighted at all? I want high quality content which is indicated by the post score, not how many times it has been viewed.
    – takendarkk
    yesterday
  • 2
    Bergi, assuming you like many of us don’t like it any better on non-“greatest hits” pages, you should either remove status-bydesign or ask Ben to do so, because I, for one, definitely feel this needs revisiting.
    – KRyan
    yesterday
  • 5
    @BenKelly any results from bringing it up internally? If this really is "by design", then the design is garbage and should be redone. It has been discussed time and time again that popularity is a very bad indicator of quality, and that the post score is by far the most important metric we have on the SE network.
    – l4mpi
    yesterday
  • 2
    @BenKelly there's been a lot of "Defect by design" changes rolling out, particularly in this case where the test platform was something I didn't even know existed, and most users probably never used - there was some pretty heavy selection bias in designing for the rare user who knows about, and prefers, that greatest hit page.
    – Andrew
    23 hours ago
90

The questions on the main page are missing the highlight if they have a watched tag on them. Previously this allowed me to quickly scan whether the question comes from one of my favourite tags, now they're all just bland white.

16
  • 8
    Thank you for the report. I'll take a look into this
    – Ben Kelly StaffMod
    yesterday
  • This is exactly what I came to report as well. I scan for highlighted questions on the main page based on my highlighted tags. Without those highlighted, I'm bouncing from the home page because I don't want to spend time scanning for tags I care about.
    – Ross Allen
    yesterday
  • 2
    @RossAllen I wonder whether the front page update has measurable effects on the answering behaviour :-)
    – Bergi
    yesterday
  • 44
    @BenKelly This has been fixed quickly! I have to say that I preferred the inconspicuous yellowish background over the bold "Watched" badge though
    – Bergi
    yesterday
  • 2
    @Bergi I'm guessing the highlight made styling sites and dark mode complicated, but I agree there should be a better way to implement this, like a tag, a bounding box, something on the right-hand side, etc.
    – LShaver
    yesterday
  • 35
    I also much preferred the background as opposed to a new marker on the left. The former is ingested simultaneously, the latter must be ingested linearly. The former is instant... the latter is not.
    – Scott
    yesterday
  • 45
    @BenKelly that "watched" badge is hideous. Did that actually get approved by a designer? On dark mode it's absolutely glaring. I'd rather nothing at all in place of that
    – Phil
    yesterday
  • 38
    Not only is the watched tag way too prominent, especially with the dark theme, but when you add the number of answers, votes, views, AND bounty, the wasted space is just unwelcoming. IMO it looks bad, feels bad, reads bad. It's just making the user experience worse in every ways.
    – Seblor
    yesterday
  • 2
    I thought I had accidentally turned on a colour-blind accessibility option. I can see why a subtle background colour is not enough for people with vision issues. But I can no longer scan questions by anything but reading every title. I am flabbergasted at how horrible this is. Was this not user-tested?
    – marts
    yesterday
  • 2
    To get a quick fix with custom styles .s-post-summary--stats-item.is-watched {display:none !important;} .s-post-summary__watched {background-color: var(--yellow-100);} yesterday
  • 6
    The new "watched" marker has proven itself both garish and unclear in meaning. I greatly prefer the old style of subtly shading the background for that question div. However, I think I would like it even better to have the individual tags which the user is watching highlighted, perhaps in addition to the cell. yesterday
  • 1
    Assuming that the tag-style box is here to stay - I think it would be nicer if the watched tag was grouped with the tag buttons, and had the different styling for emphasis. It makes it harder to see the other metrics on the LHS when it shows up, and it definitely breaks up my flow when skimming the page. Or even just style the tag buttons differently if they're one of my watched tags. yesterday
  • 3
    The watched tag makes the location of the other metadata unpredictable and makes it even harder to quickly glance at votes because you don’t know where to look. The watched tag is bad, but at a minimum it should go last rather than first. 23 hours ago
  • 6
    @BenKelly Thanks for fixing this! Looks much warmer and familiar again :-)
    – Bergi
    21 hours ago
  • 1
    I concur, the highlight looks neat and is immediately familiar to those who are used to the old design - thanks! 21 hours ago
83

Please restore background highlight on watched questions

The questions with your watched tags used to have a yellow background.

Now they instead have a yellow plaque on the left:

pic

Which, at least for me, makes it much harder to visually scan for watched questions. Please consider restoring the background highlight we had before (with or without this new plaque).

7
  • Also mentioned by John Montgomery. yesterday
  • 24
    I would argue that the absence of the backgrounds for questions with watched or ignored tags is the main reason why the new home page leaves distinct feeling that it has been stripped of important information. The "Watched" sticker do not serve the purpose of visually splitting the page into the areas of interest like it was before. It is important to fix that.
    – GSerg
    yesterday
  • 13
    This tag might be useful if you have one or two watched tags; it's pure and utter visual clutter when you have enough watched tags that Every. Single. Question. has it.
    – deceze
    yesterday
  • 2
    Add custom css .s-post-summary--stats-item.is-watched {display:none !important;} .s-post-summary__watched {background-color: var(--yellow-100);} yesterday
  • 3
    It looks like this was restored on Meta.SE 22 hours ago
  • 3
    We have partially reverted the label approach back to using a colored background. We lose info that way, but it gives us an opportunity to revisit how the watched styles are being added to the page.
    – Ben Kelly StaffMod
    21 hours ago
  • 7
    @BenKelly Thank you. Negatively received design changes were very rarely reverted before, if at all, so it feels like a step in the right direction. I'm not a fan of the rest of the changes too (sorry), but at least it's a bit better now. 21 hours ago
72

This Watched label.

  1. The color is like it belongs somewhere else, not to this page

  2. It takes too much space.

  3. There is no explanation of what it is for. I can only guess.

If it's for watching tags, I do not understand why it's so big. I guess people know which tags they are watching without showing them this huge icon. For usability, tags filters would be a better option. On my page almost all questions have this tag, I don't think that people who follow tags with big amount of questions need to see this label. enter image description here

8
  • 2
    Isn’t this basically the same as this other report? yesterday
  • 1
    Similar, but my thoughts on this label are different.
    – vitaliis
    yesterday
  • 25
    Suggestion: why not highlight the tags themselves instead of adding an additional tag?
    – deceze
    yesterday
  • 3
    Yea, why aren't the watched tags yellow. I saw this on mobile view this morning and it was horrid. it takes up so much space and is shouty without giving any useful message. I liked the yellow highlight on the entire row better than this useless in your face label. I'm just hiding it for now .s-post-summary--stats-item.is-watched {display:none !important;} yesterday
  • 5
    Highlighting just the individual tag would also quickly remind you which tag you're watching for this question yesterday
  • 2
    I assumed it meant I either bookmarked or followed a question. It doesn’t seem clear at all.
    – Ambo100
    yesterday
  • Marking as duplicate of this resolved post.
    – Ben Kelly StaffMod
    21 hours ago
  • 3
    @BenKelly How about deceze’s idea to highlight the individual tags that are being watched? 10 hours ago
63

Why we’re making these changes

Our current designs have withstood the test of time, but they fall short in many areas:

May I humbly propose that the reasons for these changes are not actually good reasons in the first place?

  1. We generally assume 3 items of metadata: score, answers, and views. If we want to add new entries for e.g. bookmarks or revisions, it can be difficult to create a consistent layout in a list of questions.

I've highlighted this part to point out that the difficulty you're talking about is a difficulty for you, the UI designer. The goal of UI design is surely to make things easier for the user; making things easier for the designer is important insofar as it makes it easier to make things easier for the user, it normally should not come at the cost of making things harder for the user.

  1. Inconsistencies in implementation have led to several different layouts across the site. When gathering requirements for a unified post summary component, we found at least 5 (five!) different layouts.

Lists of questions can appear differently on different pages because those pages have different purposes. You found 5 different layouts because they were designed for 5 different use-cases. It is a deoptimisation to attempt to unify them.

If I'm browsing a list of recent questions then the most important information to me is the question score (particularly whether it's positive or negative) and the tags; if I'm browsing search results for a problem I have, the most important information to me is an excerpt of the post's content. But in the list of recent questions, an excerpt is not information I am going to use to decide whether to click on a post, and in a list of search results, the tags are secondary because they don't tell me whether a post is specifically about exactly the same problem as I have.

  1. Scaling the design is tricky, both in window size and adding features and functionality. We need to support all sorts of metadata on all sorts of devices.

It doesn't really matter to me as an end-user if the page I'm looking at would look nice in a different sized window or on a different sized screen than the one I'm reading it on. Different layouts might be optimal for different devices, so again it is a deoptimisation to attempt to completely unify the design across devices.

  1. Our post summaries were only designed to support questions (and answers, kinda). We need to be able to display various content types in single lists. For example, in a list of notifications, we may want to present an article next to a question.

See #2. If you're showing a list of questions on the home page then it is irrelevant whether an article could be shown uniformly alongside those questions, because articles don't appear on that page anyway.

  1. We have no unified place to put an action menu.

See #2. What's missing from this list of five reasons is any real problem users had with the old UI, or any use case that a user might have such that a redesign would serve that user better. These five reasons are all focused on things which matter to the designer, not to the user.

As a user, I do respect the fact that making things easier for the people who develop and design the products I use is ultimately something which serves me, and asking a designer to choose a design which is better for me but harder for them to maintain means I am asking them to put effort in on my behalf.

But I still think it is worth highlighting that the interests of actual users apparently didn't form part of the rationale for the change, because I doubt you wanted to ignore the interests of actual users, I think it's more likely that you didn't realise you were doing so.

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2
  • 13
    Well formulated. yesterday
  • In my ponion, this type of changes is better to introduce them slowly and consensually , there are many changes for something that is used daily
    – borchvm
    yesterday
60

The new layout allows users on desktops to see fewer questions per screen on the hompage (due to the two sidebars on the page), which is undesirable.

While the new design may be more performant when switching smoothly to a mobile layout (which I support), it breaks what was a good layout in terms of information density on the desktop.

The lower information density (questions per screen in particular), makes my primary way of interacting with the network a much worse experience.

I should point out, that "screen" in this answer refers to what is visible and displayed on on my computer monitor, without having to scroll, as opposed to the word used in the question, which refers to different site views as screens.

As you can see from the below screenshots:

  • In the new view, with the watched and ignored tags, I can see 9 questions
  • In the new view, without those tags, I can see 10 questions at once
  • In the old view I can see 12 questions at once

So, compared to the current new view, with the watched & ignored tags, the old view enabled me to see 33% more questions per computer monitor screen.

Compared to the original new view, without those tags, the old view enabled me to see 20% more questions.

Furthermore, not only is it easier to line up who posted, but also compare statistics between questions in the old view than the current view. If I try to scan down the list of recent posters, my eyes have to move all over the screen to find the information per question.

New View (post- addition of watched & ignored tags): New view post watched/ignored tags

New view (original presentation): new view

Old view (captured using the waybackmachine): old view (captured using the way back machine)

7
  • 1
    I haven't noticed any significant change to the number of questions per screen. Can you provide a screenshot of the old view for comparison? yesterday
  • 1
    @NicolBolas I've captured an equivalent screenshot using the wayback machine on the same monitor. The only difference is I'm not logged in in the "old" screenshot (obviously), but I took pains to ensure that they are in fact the same size. I see 20% more questions per screen on the old view.
    – illustro
    yesterday
  • 2
    Ah, I see what it is now: question titles. In the old layout, question titles that fit in one line take up less space, while the new layout is tall enough that they take up the same space whether the title fits in one line or two. The new layout could do that too; it just doesn't, for some reason. yesterday
  • 7
    @NicolBolas also the new layout has additional unnecessary padding at the bottom of questions for no particular reason
    – illustro
    yesterday
  • 10 questions ? I got 7 to 8 on my home page. Look at all that wasted space! And I have the zoom level at 90% on StackExchange websites!
    – Seblor
    yesterday
  • 3
    @Seblor I took that screenshot before the delightful watched and ignored tags were added to the question list to "fix" the highlighting removal. I get less questions per screen now, but I'm not on my computer until tomorrow to get a new screenshot.
    – illustro
    yesterday
  • 1
    No worries, it's gonna get worse once they start embedding random articles in the questions list, pushing another 1-2 questions out of view...
    – grek40
    yesterday
60

This change is bad, you need to step back and examine the purpose of the pages and elements you changed here. There are fundamental problems here, the new frontpage is much less usable than the old one.

The new layout for the votes/answers/views is inherently problematic. This is information that must be easily scannable when quickly looking through a list of questions, and not all numbers here are equally important. The old homepage view is really optimized for fast scanning of this table, with the three separate columns for the numbers.

The old questions view has a somewhat similar layout in that the numbers are also vertically stacked, but the huge difference is that the numbers are larger than the text and that the view count is much smaller. This makes an enormous difference, the different shapes provides a lot of help when scanning for these numbers. It's not an ideal design, the score and answers are a bit too similar when there are zero answers as there is no difference in color, but it still works pretty well.

Another huge difference is that in both old designs, I can see the score in my peripheral vision even while reading the title. I suspect this might even be the biggest factor that makes the new design so terrible for me in actual use. I don't need to stop reading the title to read the score. In the new design the score is too small and too similar to the other numbers for this, I need to stop reading the title and focus on the score to read it.

4
  • 11
    To add to this answer, when a question has more than 1k views, the text colour of the view count changes. That makes it look like the most important to look at. It's not. It makes it harder to see the vote and answer counts.
    – Dan
    yesterday
  • 8
    There's a definite trend here - users keep saying "votes are important, views are not important" while the design is based on the opposite assumption. The design is produced by people whose primary incentive is to drive traffic to the site; the users have a primary incentive of sorting content by quality. The disconnect is completely to be expected and not coincidental. yesterday
  • 2
    @Dan The view count color changed in the old design too. The difficulty in seeing answer count and score now is because the font-size is much smaller (and the same size for value and label). Previously the font-size for the value of score and answer count were like 28px and the label was like 12px.
    – TylerH
    yesterday
  • @KarlKnechtel When people like me genuinely can't find good content with the new UI, then quality will be driven way down and traffic will suffer. It's not even a boycott on principle; I just honestly cannot pick out good questions to answer like I could a few weeks ago. I'm not here to answer "null pointer exception means you have a null pointer in a place you shouldn't" a hundred times a day. Maybe they're hoping the site UI will force me to look at those questions rather than filtering them out, but it really just makes me not come to the site as much (excepting this Meta post, of course) 20 hours ago
45

When going over the main pages, I find the amounts of votes, answers and views very important to quickly glean a lot of information about traffic, what questions might need more attention, &c. These amounts used to be very visible because these numbers were rendered in much larger font sizes.
Currently, the words as well as the numbers are even smaller than the text on both of the sidebars:

enter image description here

This is a strange change in the visual hierarchy and visually less appealing (to me).

Can the font-size of the 'post summary stats', i.e. Answers/Score/Views block (div class "s-post-summary--stats", currently at 12px) be changed to at least the default font size (of 13px)?

44

For questions without accepted answers, the "[X] answers" text is too hard to read, as the contrast ratio is too low

The text as to how many answers there are on a question is too light and difficult for me to read:

"13 answers"

A quick check with a contrast ratio checker shows that it's only 2.97:1. It should be at least 4.5:1 to comply with the Level AA standards for normal text, and preferably higher as the text is now smaller than normal.

This prior answer only talks about text size and not text colors.

9
  • 1
    The darker we make this text, the more difficult it become to distinguish it from black, so we'll need to consider a trade off between the information conveyed from color saturation vs. color contrast. I think we should tend towards higher contrast in this case. I can't guarantee that we'll achieve 4.5:1 here, but I think we can do better.
    – Dan Cormier Staff
    yesterday
  • 1
    @DanCormier Yeah, black would be great. Can you make it pure black #000000? The green hue isn't that useful there.
    – Dharman
    yesterday
  • 4
    @Dharman the color provides information by making different stats quickly differentiable, so I wouldn't want remove the color altogether.
    – Dan Cormier Staff
    yesterday
  • 1
    @DanCormier Why is there less visual contrast between views and score (views is mostly high for old posts; score tells you what the community thinks of a question) than for whether one of the answers was accepted or not (which tells almost nothing about the content except that the original poster decided to accept an answer; they may have accepted a terrible answer, or a question with an excellent answer may have nothing accepted)? There's definitely a mismatch in contrast in usefulness of the information and visual contrast. yesterday
  • I'm not sure I follow @BryanKrause. Are you referring to the relative contrast between distinct stats?
    – Dan Cormier Staff
    yesterday
  • 5
    @DanCormier Yes. There is no contrast between votes and views unless there are lots of views. Outside of SO, those thresholds are only occasionally reached, and never on new questions. I'm responding to "the color provides information by making different stats quickly differentiable" and arguing that no, the color choices made right now do not make different stats quickly differentiable. The color choices right now only emphasizes the number of answers and whether there is an accepted answer. I argue this is the least interesting/important thing to have stand out. yesterday
  • 1
    @DanCormier You have problem with green color ever since this new shade was introduced (about 2years ago). It is too light. There are posts on the Meta asking for more contrast even then. But it was just ignored, and the problem didn't go away. It is bad color and using it in more places will not make it better. yesterday
  • 1
    Note that WCAG advises that color should not be the sole method for conveying information. Perhaps also add a text shadow or a different border type to backup/supplant the color? I expect that people with certain types of color blindness do not get the information conveyed by that color choice. yesterday
  • @DanCormier Why not make the text black (or white on dark mode) and leave the green box border to keep your color as a distinguishing feature? That would give you the middle ground between keeping your colors and following accessibility standards. (Votes should ALSO have some distinguishing method, since answers and votes are the two most important stats for a question)
    – Andrew
    52 mins ago
36

Not a new bug, but let me mention it here anyway for the record: the question summaries may get truncated at random places, including in the middle of MathJax expressions, resulting in broken markup:

screenshot

4
35

Why was such a major change to the interface of the main page of both Stack Overflow and the Stack Exchange network rolled out so quickly and with so little feedback gathered?

There is a reason why sites on the internet contemplating sweeping changes to their primary view offer users:

  • Several months (or years in some cases) to transition between the two and gather feedback
  • They do this by using a modal box on the page informing users that a change is going to happen, and would they like to preview it.

This sweeping change was buried in a post, that doesn't have an especially informative title, nor is it clear that it was referring to such a sweeping change (I missed it and I'm active on the SE network daily).

What's more it was only tested by ~170 users, on a page no-one uses (in comparative terms given the userbase of the site) over a very short period of time. I would have expected such a large change to the user experience to need much more data to be gathered from as wide a range of users as possible, with users beng able to compare both the new and old interfaces side-by-side (by changing a cookie setting set by the aformentioned model popup method that most sites use).

For a site with the userbase of Stack Overflow, let alone the Stack Exchange network as a whole, this approach to rolling out primary user interface design changes seems ill-conceived and irresponsible at best.

3
  • 4
    As an example of a site handling primary UI changes well, I’ve been getting periodic messages to try “new Reddit” for years now, and they still let me use old Reddit. yesterday
  • 4
    @ThomasMarkov they compensate for that by new Reddit being outright terrible and broken. And there are plenty of dark patterns there to try and get people to use new Reddit. yesterday
  • 4
    Testing with such a small fraction of the user base and on a page many people don't even know exists, let alone use, introduces massive selection bias into the results - only people who first know that page exits and second find it serves a use case they value will be giving feedback, and such limited feedback is likely to break the use cases other, far more numerous, users find value in.
    – Andrew
    23 hours ago
34

Date and time shown on homepage is the date the question was originally asked, not the time of the last activity as before

Previously, the date and time shown on the homepage for each question was the time of the last activity (originally being asked, a new answer posted, an edit made, Community user bump, question getting reopened, etc.).

Now, however, the date and time shown is always the one when it was originally asked, and not that of the last activity:

enter image description here

The "Active" sort order still works, though.

Can this please be changed back to what it originally showed?

6
  • 2
    Related to: Restore "Modified" link
    – zcoop98
    yesterday
  • @zcoop98 Nope, that's a different issue: that has to do with the "asked", "answered", and "modified" texts that were removed. yesterday
  • Kind of... The way I see this, if the modified text lines return, then so will what you request; unless I'm misunderstanding something.
    – zcoop98
    yesterday
  • 3
    This has been fixed cross-network. The underlying mechanism that triggers this is the same as the one as the bug reported here (and linked by @zcoop98)
    – Ben Kelly StaffMod
    yesterday
  • As I mentioned on another answer, I want to see both pieces of information if at all possible. yesterday
  • @BenKelly This is still broken on the Bookmarks page when sorting by activity: i.stack.imgur.com/dHaJd.png (the page still shows question's posted date, not its last activity date, and the link still goes to the page unqualified, not to the post on the page w/ most recent activity).
    – TylerH
    yesterday
34

I'm seeing a strange Mathjax layout problem on Stats.SE:

enter image description here

This display weirdness is not caused by the user's Mathjax input, as you can see from the post itself: PDF of $x_1^2+x_2^2-x_3^2-x_4^2$ with $x_i \sim N(\mu_i,1)$

I'm using Chrome 97.0.4692.71 for ARM on MacOS 12.1 (Monterey).


It appears that this issue is more frequent on Math.SE. Some examples:

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  • 8
    WOW, that's an odd one. I'll see if I can't reproduce this in my local environment and get a fix out for it. Thanks for the report!
    – Ben Kelly StaffMod
    yesterday
  • 9
    @BenKelly FYI, this is very similar, and may be related, to what was reported on Dec. 7, 2021 in the answer MathJax wraps awkwardly on the activity page (with this being marked status-review) to New responsive Activity page. For what it's worth, I have seen this "strange Mathjax layout problem" many times over the past few months on Math SE. yesterday
  • 7
    Thank you for bringing this to their attention, its been around for some time on maths.se yesterday
  • 4
    This is probably due to a container that "shrink-wraps" the content, so MathJax gets the wrong width for the container, and tries to line break to that incorrect (and too small) width. yesterday
  • 1
    @BenKelly In case it needs saying: Davide is a dev on the Mathjax team. He also left some detail in this comment on math.meta 15 hours ago
  • 1
    Here are some more screen caps of recents posts. It's simply horrible. :/ 5 hours ago
  • Thanks for all the extra info folks, it's a big help. I'm looking to address this one today. Thank you for your patience. There is a lot of feedback coming in and it is a lot of work to assess and address it all.
    – Ben Kelly StaffMod
    2 hours ago
34

It is unnecessary to know if people watch the questions - it should just be shown within the question, not on the homepage of the site's screen.

Why is it not helpful?

  • This is unhelpful because most users are interested in the question itself - not whether someone watched it or not.

  • It makes each question take up a lot of space, which makes it harder for visitors of the site to access more questions they may have missed.

    (See here:)

    Watched

  • Most of the time, the quality of the question can be discerned based on the vote count -- not if someone watches it, and most people will only click on the questions that interest them anyway.

What purpose does stating the presence of watchers have?

I really have no idea, other than to take up space and add a yellow icon to the regular interface.

Can Stack Exchange please take out the watch icon -- or at least give an option to not see it? (As a whole, I am not a fan of the new update and format, but the watchers haven't been brought up yet (at least I didn't see an answer about them) and feel like they should be recognized for what they are: an icon that symbolizes next to nothing.)

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    The "watched" badge is for your watched tags, not if somebody is watching / following / bookmarked the question
    – Phil
    yesterday
  • 11
    I agree that the design is pure horror, especially on dark mode. It seems to be in response to this answer
    – Phil
    yesterday
  • 4
    @Phil Thank you, I was confused as to what 'watcher' meant. However, it is still a terrible format and a waste of space -- I much prefer the old version.
    – Joe Kerr
    yesterday
  • Related: this other report. yesterday
  • 14
    Thanks for this post. It shows exactly my initial problem: I didn't understand that the "watched" icon was about my watched tags instead of some other random information. If users misunderstand the icon at first sight it might not be the best UI/UX decision. I really preferred the design where my watched tags questions where highlighted as a whole instead of having some icon.
    – grek40
    yesterday
  • 1
    The "watched" label is awful. I generally don't mind the new layout, but I think I would prefer it with highlighting the background rather than a badge-style thing. Plus, it often forces a lot of extra whitespace that is unnecessary. I think a small change to replace the badge with highlighting the background would go a long way here. yesterday
  • 2
    We have partially reverted the label approach back to using a colored background. We lose info that way, but it gives us an opportunity to revisit how the watched styles are being added to the page. I agree that the label may be a little confusing due to lack of context, but imo "yellow + watched" is much less confusing than just "yellow". We're revisiting this design to see if we can improve the context even further.
    – Ben Kelly StaffMod
    21 hours ago
  • 5
    @BenKelly did you see the suggestion to highlight the actual tag(s) in some way? I thought that was pretty neat
    – Phil
    20 hours ago
  • @BenKelly No info is lost that way, and it seems the consensus on what is more clear runs opposite to your opinion (this may be because existing users are more familiar with the current format). Though stuffing information that I believe is best presented in other ways (here highlighting) into a list of tags is counterproductive UI design, it just takes up more and more vertical space and expands the item too much.
    – Andrew
    1 hour ago
32

My ignored tags are showing up now

I ignore the [dnd-5e] tag on Role-playing Games Stack Exchange. D&D 5th Edition is probably most of the site now. I want to be able to focus on questions that aren't about it, which the old view let me do. What's the point of ignored tags, otherwise?

Only one of the questions below would be plainly visible, and the rest faded out, in the previous view, the question tagged [pathfinder-1e].

RPG questions feed with full view of ignored tags box

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  • 4
    Companion bug to Watched tag highlight is broken
    – zcoop98
    yesterday
  • 2
    Thanks for the report! This bug is caused by the same issue as the one @zcoop98 linked. I have a fix going out for this soon.
    – Ben Kelly StaffMod
    yesterday
  • 6
    Looks like this was now fixed by adding an extremely visible dark "Ignored" tag on questions you've ignored and reduces the contrast difference: i.imgur.com/JMivtpJ.jpg Should make it easy to find the things you want to ignore. yesterday
  • 15
    "Fixed" - isn't the point of ignoring a tag to not see it?
    – mkrieger1
    yesterday
  • 13
    @BryanKrause Jesus. That is just unbelievably daft. Not only does ignoring a tag not hide them, that extra badge makes the post take up more vertical space than it would have if you didn't ignore it!
    – Michael
    yesterday
  • If you click on the “edit” button in the “Ignored Tags” sidebar section on the home page, there’s a radio button setting of “Hide questions in your ignored tags” vs. “Gray out questions in your ignored tags”. Isn’t it an option for you to simply hide these posts? yesterday
  • 1
    @SebastianSimon I do see interesting questions in the wastes once in a blue moon, so I would prefer them to exist, but faded out, like before. yesterday
  • @SebastianSimon While I might want to ignore the tags most of the time, occasionally there might be a title I find interesting enough to look into, or a situation where a new user might need some help with their question (new user plus downvoted score can indicate this)
    – illustro
    yesterday
30

I would like to make and argument for presenting the score, view count, and answer count as in the previous layout.

Previously these three numbers are tabulated and treated as primary information side by side with "content data" such as the title and tags. Now they are presented in a nested list, which groups them and subsumes this list to the stuff about the content of the post, creating a two-level structure of information, and thus forcing users to retrieve the information in two steps.

However this is not how these numerical data are used. They have been playing a much more primary role in a user's decision to view a question or not, allowing users to skim the question list as a table and make quick judgments, which seems to be precisely the use case that this answer remarks upon. Thus I believe the score and answer count have an importance closer to the title than the tags or the most recent activity, and consequently deserve the more prominent position they had in the older design.

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  • 9
    This information should be in a column. We visually scroll our eyes top to bottom and when we have to read whether the number corresponds to a score or views or answers, it makes reading that list much more cumbersome.
    – Dharman
    yesterday
  • 4
    While you are at it, I would also make the post score larger so that it stands out more. You can make the title smaller instead
    – Dharman
    yesterday
  • 12
    Looking at this from the perspective of two kinds of users, i can understand prioritizing the title answers and views over score from a i'm a user looking for answers perspective, but aren't these views mostly used by users looking for questions? Don't most users looking for solutions come from the outside?
    – Kevin B
    yesterday
  • 2
    @KevinB Yup. When I look for answers, I never see the question list. I see Google.
    – Passer By
    yesterday
  • The weird thing is that they are still arranged in columns on mobile, it's just on desktop where they've been moved out of columns. 19 hours ago
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What's the threshold for showing the 🔥 symbol before the number of views? From the screenshots, I guess it's 100k – is that a global constant or will it differ per site? On many smaller sites, it's rather hard to reach that amount of views.

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    Yup, 100k views to reach "supernova" is correct. The thresholds for warm (1k), hot (10k) and supernova (100k) are preexisting and unfortunately hard coded, which means they can't be customized per site.
    – Ben Kelly StaffMod
    Jan 12 at 22:20
  • 29
    I’m not a fan of these symbols. Older eye’s and small screens lead to me trying to figure out what that symbol says only to zoom in enough to realize it’s not something to be read, and then not clear why it is there at all.
    – PatS
    Jan 16 at 14:53
  • 10
    @PatS Agreed. We'll just have to add another user script to surpress it, I guess.
    – Mast
    Jan 17 at 9:53
  • 8
    User script count is getting really out of hand. Every site "improvement" results in 5 more scripts...
    – takendarkk
    yesterday
  • We wouldn't need all of these userscripts if they just gave us a profile setting to enable or disable all of the new "improvements" yesterday
  • @BenKelly hardcoded into what exactly? If it's an external library that SE is making use of (something I doubt) then you may have a point, but anything hard coded into SE's own code isn't a valid reason for saying it can't be changed, and honestly it would be a far better improvement than half of the changes in this update to do so. (This update is pretty regressive in terms of differing usage needs and workflows in an attempt to unify what shouldn't be)
    – Andrew
    23 hours ago
  • luckily .iconFireSm{display:none;} is enough to get rid of it. Works in Stylish.
    – MMM
    4 hours ago
28

What's the difference between the "Watched" badge without an eye and the one with an eye?

Also (not shown in screenshots below), "Ignored" without an eye, and with an eye with a line through it.

"Watched" badge

":eye: Watched" badge

Both screenshots were taken in the same page load at the same time, so scrolling down I could see both (indeed, I can see all four mentioned on the same page), which implies they're different.

For reference here is a screenshot of all four on the page at once (screenshot from phone, set to show desktop version so I could fit them all).

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    I noticed that the eye showed up for me on all badges when I added a new tag to the watch list. Did you perhaps do the same thing right before you noticed the eye symbol? I think it's a bug. yesterday
  • I also just noticed the same thing happens when you remove a tag from the watch list. Also, when you add or remove a new tag from the Ignore list, a different eye symbol shows with a line going through the eye. yesterday
  • 2
    @CaveJohnson haven't touched my watch list in months, I'm fairly specific in the posts I watch. (In fact, I had to go and see how to even modify my watch list on mobile, apparently you have to spend 30s scrolling to the very bottom of the page, TIL)
    – Nick
    yesterday
  • 3
    looks like anything that causes a re-render on the question list causes the eye to show up. A link popped up saying "X new questions" and after I clicked it, the new question showed on top of the page and then the eye showed up on all the "watched" and "ignored" badges. yesterday
  • @CaveJohnson Even if I reload the page, I'm still in the same situation, eye on some, not on others. Whatever the cause is it certainly doesn't appear to be consistent. I also have posts with ignored without an eye, and with an eye and line through it (again, both are visible on the page at the same time).
    – Nick
    yesterday
  • 11
    This appears to be a bug. The eye icon is supposed to be shown everywhere; the SVG icon just fails to load for all of them except the last one of the same type. There’s an empty <svg class="svg-skeleton-element-during-loading mr4"></svg> in the labels where the eye icon isn’t shown. yesterday
  • 3
    This was a race condition bug. We have "fixed" this by partially reverting the label approach back to using a colored background. We lose info that way, but it gives us an opportunity to revisit how the watched styles are being added to the page.
    – Ben Kelly StaffMod
    21 hours ago
  • Yes, thanks @BenKelly losing the label is the best option, and no info is lost that way!
    – Luuklag
    21 hours ago
  • Thanks for the update @BenKelly, could you throw into your discussion the contrast of the background colour? At least in "high contrast" dark mode, the difference (1 in screenshot) is barely perceptible without using the right hand margin (2 in screenshot) (where there isn't the line separators between posts): i.stack.imgur.com/B87qP.png
    – Nick
    21 hours ago
  • @BenKelly What info is lost? The bulk of the comments here about the watched tag was it takes up too much space and is ambiguous/unclear information. The highlight provides exactly the same information as far as I can tell, marking a question differently if it contains watched tags, so what info is lost by the changes?
    – Andrew
    2 hours ago
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(New answer, following the 2022-01-25 update)

We're currently gathering together all the discussion and feature-request feedback items to decide how we want to alter the design.

Sure, but in the meantime, please revert the question list to the old design.

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As also said in this answer the format of the author is a mess.

What I see when I read it is:

  • The author
  • Reputation! (in bold)
  • and some more small print

enter image description here

You could (should) format it more like this instead

enter image description here

Furthermore, I don't see why the reputation is the only bold text there -- it would be just as readable without being bold (and its being bold at the moment is in my opinion chartjunk).

0
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Mobile: multiline titles have a larger font size.

enter image description here

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  • No repro on Firefox Nightly 98.0a1. yesterday
  • 2
    This is probably unrelated to this change; I have a screen shot from a couple of weeks back from my phone because I meant to ask about this apparent bug, before this change rolled out.
    – tripleee
    yesterday
23

The removal of the badge count information next to a user's avatar and reputation was intentional. While that information was not of critical importance by any means, I did find it informative and interesting.

Can you speak to the reasoning behind removing it, since it doesn't seem to be a matter of needing that space for layout purposes (overflowing the width parameter there bumps that whole line down to a new line anyway)?

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    The reasoning here is basically "less info > more space > less wrapping". In the majority of cases (for "normal" usage), the user cards as-is do not wrap to a new line, but adding the badges back would cause them to do so. From testing, the things that cause the line wrapping the most often are 1) many, long tags 2) adding Staff+Mod badges 3) long community wiki text. Using the MSE greatest hits page as our benchmark is a little misleading because all three of those things are very abundant here! Check out the Stack Overflow greatest hits page for more a more typical example.
    – Ben Kelly StaffMod
    Jan 14 at 15:40
  • 6
    A very informal study: MSE greatest hits first page, ~50% wrap. SO greatest hits first page exactly 2 posts wrap. If I get some time later, I'll write up a quick (local) script to add badges to those pages and see how many more wrap.
    – Ben Kelly StaffMod
    Jan 14 at 15:41
  • 2
    yet, you found plenty of space to emphasize collective leaderboard badges, even though gold badges are applicable network-wide.
    – Kevin B
    yesterday
  • 2
    "The reasoning here is basically "less info > more space > less wrapping". In the majority of cases (for "normal" usage), the user cards as-is do not wrap to a new line, but adding the badges back would cause them to do so." So what?. The question title normally fits on one line. Even if you fit the tags, user info and question date into one line, the entire question will take up three lines anyway for answers, votes and views (four, with the current "watched" badges). So there is room for the old-style user card anyway, and also room to wrap a long set of tags to two lines. yesterday

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