Any colour palette should respect the following principles:

  • Be functionally appropriate and support UI usage
  • Increase legibility
  • Support brand values

I realise that I am making an aesthetic judgement here, but I've heard from multiple parties, and strongly feel, that the palette choice for this site is not working, and breaking all the principles above:

  • The tint of yellow is too strong (#FFFF00): 100% luminosity and saturation!
  • The choice of yellow is not appropriate, with reference to our brand values. We stand for clarity of vision, positivity, hope in the future, trustworthiness, knowledge and cold facts.

    Appropriate colours would be in the light and cold range: blue, green. Certainly, hot and passionate colours are 180° from what we are trying to communicate on this site.

  • The dark, almost black background is also a poor choice. It is attention grabbing for no reason and it communicates the wrong brand values again. White is certainly more appropriate for clarity of vision, positivity, hope in the future, trustworthiness, knowledge and cold facts.

Please rethink the design and remove the yellow and black completely. The mismatch with our brand value makes us look like armchair detectives and it strongly undermines our credibility. Furthermore, it impedes prolonged usage of the site.

It is simply not acceptable.

Mostly in response of Tim Farley, asking for some references in the comments, I'm adding this addendum.

Various sources for common colour connotations:

I would start with Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yellow, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black and then move on to some of the hundreds of books on the "meaning of colours" (see for example: https://www.google.com/search?q=meaning+of+colours&btnG=Search+Books&tbm=bks&tbo=1)

Peer-reviewed article

The meanings of color. by Wright, Benjamin; Rainwater, Lee, Journal of General Psychology, 67, 1962, 89-99.

An example mock-up with lighter colours and no yellow shows a dramatic difference:

normal lighter

Thanks @Fabian :-)

  • Could you offer a link to something (other than subjective opinion) that yellow and black are negatively correlated with thinking about the brand values you list? I'm not a designer so I haven't read a ton on this, but the little bit I've read about associations between colors and ideas seemed a bit woo-woo to me. – Tim Farley Mar 25 '12 at 20:43
  • I'll edit in the answer because it's a bit too long for a comment. In any case, the associations are real (simply: go and ask people what color they associate, say, with sex. It will not be random). The "woo-woo" bit, I think are where the influence is inferred. – Sklivvz Mar 25 '12 at 21:10
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    Your gray mockup is so much nicer than the current wasp colour scheme. – fredley Mar 25 '12 at 22:18
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    I think the Meta site is much easier on the eyes than main, mostly due to the slightly lighter background and the lack of yellow. – John Lyon Mar 26 '12 at 4:42
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    I'm not sure why this hasn't gotten an actual response from the designers. Also, I like the blue color scheme, and it would go well with a "blue pen notes" background. – user1936 Mar 26 '12 at 21:37
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    I appreciate the insights; after I work out some of the other bugs, we will continue to improve the site. – Sean Gallagher Mar 27 '12 at 16:25
  • I’m just a reader here, but when I read, I turn the site stylesheet off. – fuxia Apr 5 '12 at 0:00
  • If they used Golden Yellow there would at least be some symbolic meaning to it. – rjzii May 23 '13 at 13:47
  • I imagine the colours are named "battleship" grey and "virulent" yellow. – ChrisW May 1 '15 at 21:29

I agree with this - Skeptics currently has the worst UI of any Stackexchange site.

In addition to the poor color-scheme:

  • It is too "blocky." Compare, for example, the up/down-vote icons of this site with literally any other stackexchange site.
  • The side-bar has poor formatting. Look at the side-bar (right-side of the page) - it looks like one large blob of text. Now compare this with the sidebars on other sites.
  • It has way too much whitespace at the bottom of posts. Compare the location Add comment and Show more comments buttons on this site with other sites. On other sites, the buttons look like they are "grouped" together with the comments as one logical unit, but on this site they look like a completely separate thing.

    Several times on this site I have read through the comments on a post, only to realize there were more comments that were hidden - I've never had that issue on other stackexchange sites.

    The Add another answer button has the same issue.

  • The color scheme, again. Particularly, the fact that links are the same color as text - that is a huge no-no. For instance, scroll down to the bottom of the page, where it says "Or ask your own question." You cannot tell at all that that's supposed to be a link, without hovering your mouse over it.

    Also, the "up/down-voted" icon is too similar to the "haven't up/down-voted" icon.

  • Not friendly with older browsers. According to this, 10% of all users still use IE 7. Unless we want to exclude that 10% of users, we should still support at least IE7. Stackoverflow and most other stackexchange sites do; this site does not.

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