As part of implementing the new unified themes across the network, we're gradually rolling out updated site themes for each site. As of today, we have enabled your updated site theme for testing.

If you can't see it right now, that's by design! This is a very early test implementation of your design and we need your help finding issues with it before we make it live for everyone permanently. So, keep in mind, there will be things that need fixing! We'll address those things as we can.

If you'd like to review it, here's how:

How do I enable it?

Click here and check the "Beta test new themes" option. This will turn on the new theme for all sites that have one in testing, including this one. Here's more info on how to opt in. You can uncheck the box to revert to the older theme until the site is live for everyone. Note, while turning it on is immediate, it will take a few minutes to revert to the old view - but it will go through!

What type of feedback do we need?

On this post: Bugs related to this site's design elements

Please help us look for issues/bugs related to the theme design and how we have mapped the old theme to the new. This needs to be done within the limits of the new unified theme.

This could include colors of sections of the design or text, problems with JavaScript add-ons (if applicable), the logo or top banner appearance or other artwork.

You can also feel free to ask questions about the new layout if you're unsure how to navigate it.

On Meta Stack Exchange: General concerns about left nav or theming

There are some things that are definitely changing everywhere and can't really be adjusted on a per-site basis. A few of them include:

  • Top banner is shorter in height, so some artwork has to be adjusted along with some logos.
  • Left Navigation is active everywhere (but can be collapsed into a menu by visiting your site preferences - instructions here).
  • Responsive layout is active, which lets the site adjust as browser widths change - no side scrolling (some pages haven't been updated, yet, though). For now, if you prefer the scrolling, you can disable this by clicking the "disable responsiveness" link in the footer.
  • Many site elements including tags and voting arrows are standardized across the network.
  • Link underlining is active. In an effort to make links more visible, they are now being underlined.

If you have concerns or issues regarding the left nav or the overall approach we are taking to theming, then this Meta Stack Exchange post is the right place for feedback.

As I mentioned earlier, there are some unique design elements like voting arrows and tags that are being standardized in this process. Keeping these custom elements makes our ability to maintain the sites too complex and, while we're very sad to see them go, we're in a difficult position of needing to make the site designs work together so that we can continue to address feature requests and bugs that will make your Q&A experience better. This is addressed in a Meta Stack Exchange post if you want more detail.

What new themes?

If you're like, "What the heck are you talking about?", then you should read the Meta Stack Exchange post entitled Rollout of new network site themes (and maybe the posts it links to for the full background). To follow along with the rollout of these new themes, go here.

Thanks so much for your constructive feedback!

Oh, Who am I?

If you don't know me, I'm one of the Community Managers here at Stack Exchange. I'm here to listen to your input and convey it to our Design team for responses and fixes to bugs. I'll do my best to respond to your concerns and explain whether changes we've made are bugs that can be changed or if they're by design and why.

  • 3
    Will you be conveying general, global dissatisfaction, should it occur? Or will that be ignored? What has been the response to the feedback on the updated EL&U site theme, which there is near unanimous agreement has been a total disaster? Because I don't want to waste my time here, if the feedback is going to be ignored, or if SE cherrypicks what type of feedback they want to get. Oct 14, 2018 at 21:36
  • 4
    I'm already annoyed by the lack of symmetry/balance and general lack of regard for basic aesthetic design principles that's now afflicting my experience here. Design is not all about 'functionality' its also about 'livewithability'/'enjoyability'. Will/can you pass this on? Oct 14, 2018 at 21:44
  • @Araucaria If you can be specific - and if it's specific to the design of this site - I'm happy to hear it. But right now you're talking about very generic things with no specific actions on our part. The issues on ELU relate to things like the logo and the placement of it or the mixed use of serif and sans-serif fonts. Very little of that has changed here from what was already present. The Left Navigation, for example, I specifically call out as being something to discuss on the linked MSE post, not here.
    – Catija
    Oct 15, 2018 at 15:37

3 Answers 3


The changes fit some sites better than others. I think ELL is one of the better ones, and the design isn't really a huge change aesthetically for us, so that's probably one reason there hasn't been nearly as much grumbling here as on other sites.

The usability problems of the new design are here to stay, I think, but there are only two that really bother me:

  1. Hiding the important stuff ("Questions", etc.) in a sidebar or hamburger menu. It's not really "hiding" if you keep the sidebar enabled, but I don't like the sidebar so I turn it off. But the hamburger menu isn't really good in terms of usability.

  2. I never know which hamburger to click:


    Yes, I know that only the one on the left is technically a hamburger, but they're all very similar:

    hamburgers redux

    On their own, I think the hamburger and SE logo would be visually distinct enough for me to tell them apart, but then you've got the other icon which is halfway in between them, and I think the combination makes them all melt into one category for me cognitively.

But these problems aren't unique to ELL, and I can adapt to them. I think the best solution is to stop using the links and simply bookmark pages like "Questions" and so on directly:

As long as I keep one set of bookmarks like these for each site I use, the new design isn't really a big deal for me. My only request is that SE put in some automated testing to meet accessibility guidelines, in particular for minimum contrast, so that changes in the future don't make SE sites inaccessible again. As I'm sure you're aware, that's been a recurring problem for SE for years, always cropping up in different places on different sites.

Thankfully, I can see everything fine on ELL at the moment. I bought a new, larger phone, and the new design works okay on it :-)


I was pleasantly surprised by how well the new design scaled to my phone on the question pages. The profile pages, review queues, et.al. are still problematic.

Are there plans to do a second pass after this rollout to wrangle the other pages? It would be nice if the side menu automatically collapsed down like it does on the question pages if nothing else.

  • Yep! It's sort of a work in progress, which isn't the greatest way to roll it out but it's going to take a long time to get everything updated to be responsive (particularly userpages, review queues), and we felt that it'd be better to roll it out incomplete but make it possible for new features to be worked on sooner. It's a bit of a balancing act. If we waited until it was great everywhere, we'd be waiting much longer to get to some great features we want to roll out. The right sidebar is definitely still a work in progress, too.
    – Catija
    Oct 16, 2018 at 15:24

This morning I tried to look at a suggested edit on question 190072. I was using the new responsive design on my phone (iPhone XR), but the dialog box that popped up didn't fit. It looked like this:

suggested edit pop-up

I was able to scroll to the right:

suggested edit pop-up, scrolled to the right

But I was unable to scroll to the left, so unfortunately I couldn't see the whole thing.

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