I just noticed an update on the SE icons (on many sites if it's not all):

enter image description here

Is this for accessibility purposes? Or is it for purely aesthetic purposes?

I'm just curious about the reason for the change

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    The Teams advert is buggy in Orca, but the new sidebar does seem to work properly in it – and the icon / text combination is usually an accessibility winner. The only thing I can see that could make it better is explanatory tooltips (actual title= tooltips), but that'd probably only be useful on Saves and I can't think what to write there.
    – wizzwizz4
    Commented Nov 7, 2023 at 23:55

1 Answer 1


While I have no direct insight into the minds of the designers, the change does provide an accessibility benefit for some users, namely non-native speakers. Look for example at the following and tell me if you'd be able to navigate as well without the icons:

Japanese SO menu

(There are a number of reasons why this situation would happen. The most straightforward example would be that almost every "X language" site allows users to post entirely in language X instead of English.)

In any case, there's no negative to having icons here.

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