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My name is Kurtis and I'm a product designer at Stack Exchange.

Recently, as we prepared to convert the Skeptics site to a new LESS framework, we conducted a design review based on all of your feedback and concluded that there are ways we can make the design better and more representative of the community. Plus, you asked for it!:

We wanted to come up with an evolved look that better...

...stand(s) for clarity of vision, positivity, hope in the future, trustworthiness, knowledge and cold facts.

We began by removing a lot of the clutter and blockiness of the old design and were careful to consider contrast and function.

For the logo, yellow is a really difficult color on the web because it's often too bright with not enough contrast or becomes muddy very quickly when you try to darken it. We think that blue was is a much more positive color that represents clarity.

We didn't want the design to become too Spartan so we maintained a bit of the 'official documentation' concept from the current site design, but we've toned it back a ton.

Skeptics home page Click to view larger version.

Skeptics question page Click to view larger version.

For the meta version of the site, we would change the paper-colored background to white and convert all of the color to grayscale. This would make the meta site much brighter than the current meta design.

We'd love to hear your feedback on the new design, and should be able to launch a new design fairly quickly.

Thanks for being such a great community!

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    The profile page layout is going to be updated, right? – nine Oct 2 '15 at 18:13
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    @Texenox yes, that will be part of the update too, once we launch the new design. – Kurtis Beavers Oct 2 '15 at 18:16
  • Thank goodness. I've been getting used to the cleaner profile layout on the bigger sites like Arqade and the layout used on sites like this currently doesn't feel nice to me. – nine Oct 2 '15 at 18:18
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    On the plus side, now Oddthinking will need to change his avatar, heh! – Sklivvz Oct 2 '15 at 18:57
  • The new design looks great. I think it is time to have a design change. – George Chalhoub Oct 2 '15 at 23:57
  • So still no real logo, eh? – Zano Oct 2 '15 at 23:59
  • @Sklivvz: That was exactly my first thought. – Oddthinking Oct 3 '15 at 1:16
  • @KurtisBeavers you are going to design swag as well, right? RIGHT? (we never received any!) :-) – Sklivvz Oct 4 '15 at 19:03
  • Nothing to critique from me - I would just like to say I really like it! – Jamiec Oct 5 '15 at 8:09
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The reduced clutter and actually-visible link CSS are very welcome.

Criticism follows. My first thought was "is that the beta site theme?" for these reasons:

  • The "official documentation" theme of the papers in the background is so faint in the new design that they're unrecognisable. If we're going to have something there, could it be more obvious?

  • The new colours are very conservative. The old yellow was distinctive, and conveyed the idea of "shining a light" really well. Is there really no way at all to keep the yellow?

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    Thanks! We'll darken the background a bit when we launch the new design. As far as the yellow goes, there was enough feedback against it the dark background and yellow color in previous posts, we decided to go with something different. Yellow just doesn't work well without a dark background. – Kurtis Beavers Oct 8 '15 at 17:47
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I like the design overall, but I have a bit of an issue with the background. At first I thought there were some lines left from the design process, I didn't immediately get what the background is supposed to represent. This might be just me, but the numbers above the menu items confused me at first.

Maybe the background image is toned down a bit too far, many parts look very faint to me.

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  • You might be right. It's possible we overcompensated. We can tone it up a few percentage points. – Kurtis Beavers Oct 3 '15 at 16:04
  • On my part, I didn't even notice it wasn't all white until I saw this answer. – Bobson Oct 8 '15 at 17:06
  • I've been visiting this site for about a year, I always wondered what the weird numbers above [Skeptics] meant. I only just noticed today (while searching for an answer on what those numbers are all about) that there are more patterns in the background image. Other than those numbers, which your eye is naturally drawn to because of the logo, the background image is definitely far too pale to be noticed. – CactusCake Aug 23 '17 at 18:55
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Thank you

I love the work, and I really hope that this also fixes all the minor broken issues which have been plaguing us for the past three years (e.g. invisible links!).

Good job, Kurtis!

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One element I noticed was the inconsistency between the sharp corners of the logo and the rounded corners of the "answered" box. I wonder if it would look better with the answer box having square corners.

Sharp cornersSoft corners

p.s. Design is not my strong area. I encourage designers to roll their eyes and ignore me if what I suggest isn't helpful. Thanks for the fresh design; I am excited by it.

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    I like the rounded corners, they make the design less harsh. Also they are consistent with the inside of the square bracket. – Sklivvz Oct 4 '15 at 17:17
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Are we going to update the images?

I don't object particularly to their choice, but their style is the same "armchair detective highlights some fake evidence photocopied 200 times" that is so horrible in the current theme and they are definitely in contrast with the new design.

Here they are:

  • bigfoot (404)

    bigfoot

  • weird Darwin thing (captcha)

    darwinoid

  • ufo (error)

    ufo

  • meta bigfoot

    meta bigfoot

  • meta weird Darwin thing

    meta darwinoid

  • meta ufo

    meta ufo

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A minor nitpick. The "highlight" effect of the .youarehere class on the main nav has no padding. It seems a bit too tight on the font and possibly it has too little contrast with the background. See this:

enter image description here

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