As mentioned on meta.stackexchange.com several months ago, all network sites will be getting updated themes. Mathematics is one of the first sites that will be updated. As such, I'm posting the design here so you can see how the new theming will be applied to your site.

I want to acknowledge that this will be a painful change for sites that have rich, custom themes. I want to reinforce that the theme changes are a required step to deliver ongoing value to the sites with as little friction as possible. We released changes for tag watching (aka favorite tags) this week and will be releasing a beta of custom question list functionality soon. The only way to make sure Q&A improvements are quickly available to all Q&A sites is to fix our themes.

To recap from the original post on themes:

Every Q&A site has its own theme. But there is great inequality in the level of theming that we support. A few (~10) get Cadillac treatment, some (<50) are more like a Honda, while most (~100) are a Yugo. The reality is we created a theming system that we didn't have the design resources to fully support, thus the inequity. In addition, as currently defined, our theming gets in the way of releasing new features on the sites.

In order to deliver the left nav, responsive design and future improvements to all sites we've created a more standardized way to support theming. This will reduce the burden of supporting designs as we make Q&A improvements. The result is that most sites will see an improvement in the level of theming that they can get. While some sites will see a reduction. All of Q&A (Enterprise, Teams, etc) will standardize on this new theming scheme.

- Ch-ch-ch-changes: Left nav, responsive design, & themes

Next steps


  • Early July: Collect and respond to feedback from this post
  • Late July: Update the site


Please review the mockups and feel free to provide constructive feedback in answers below. We aren't going to revisit the choices we've made around simplification, so it would be more productive to keep feedback focused on the application of the new theme scheme.

Note: I'm leaving on vacation later today, but didn't want to delay getting these designs posted. As such, I'll have limited time/ability to respond to feedback and comments until I return.

Enough talk, show me the money

You can click on the mockups below to see the image in a larger format.


Mathematics home page

Mathematics question page

  • 14
    $\begingroup$ Not a design remark per se, but I think that a Lorem Ipsum question would get closed and downvoted, and if I found one garnering 28 votes, I would alert the moderators immediately. $\endgroup$
    – Asaf Karagila Mod
    Jul 9, 2018 at 22:53
  • $\begingroup$ Also, can I ask that the update will match the site's 8th birthday, if we're talking "late July"? $\endgroup$
    – Asaf Karagila Mod
    Jul 9, 2018 at 22:54
  • $\begingroup$ For people who has poor eye sights and need to zoom up the pages a lot, the left-nav is just.... (use your imagination what the actual words are...) $\endgroup$ Jul 11, 2018 at 5:31
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ I wonder, were the left-nav off by default (with the top menu retained), how many people would want to turn it on? $\endgroup$
    – Chappers
    Jul 11, 2018 at 15:43
  • $\begingroup$ When you are logged out, and you come to math.se, then will the "Log In" link at the top still be in almost-invisible blue on black color? $\endgroup$
    – GEdgar
    Jul 12, 2018 at 13:17
  • $\begingroup$ @AsafKaragila Have you tried out the new theme on meta.stackexchange.com? I'd appreciate your feedback on what does/doesn't work for you there regarding zoom. It should be an improvement, but if it isn't, then I'd love to hear about it. $\endgroup$
    – Joe Friend
    Jul 17, 2018 at 21:46
  • $\begingroup$ @Joe: I'm afraid I don't really use that site... sorry. I'll take a look, I guess an account is not mandatory for this sort of feedback. $\endgroup$
    – Asaf Karagila Mod
    Jul 17, 2018 at 21:47
  • $\begingroup$ @AsafKaragila Shouldn't be required though it I won't charge you to join. $\endgroup$
    – Joe Friend
    Jul 17, 2018 at 21:54
  • $\begingroup$ @GEdgar The blue on black is a bug. It will be white. $\endgroup$
    – Joe Friend
    Jul 17, 2018 at 21:54
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @Joe: When you sell your soul, you're not charged with money either. :-) $\endgroup$
    – Asaf Karagila Mod
    Jul 17, 2018 at 21:55

2 Answers 2


I like the simplicity of the current math design, and I like the simplicity of the redesign. The graphpaper background is maintained and appears to remain pretty subtle. Cool.

We aren't going to revisit the choices we've made around simplification, so it would be more productive to keep feedback focused on the application of the new theme scheme.

I don't really understand what this means. I know when the redesign was first brought up, there were lots of questions concerning the left nav bar and whether it could be collapsed or not --- and whether resizing prioritizes the content bar or the nav bar (the old gif used to show that a surprising amount of weight was given to the nav bar). But I gather that these sorts of ideas are things that you might call "unproductive" right now?

There is one major topic concerning the application of new theming to this site that isn't apparent from the mockups: how will the responsive design interact with MathJax? This is clearly a fundamental part of this site.

Further, there are lots of equations and lines written that conform to the current default width standard of the site. I know you've thought of very many things, but it's worth checking: are you preserving (or increasing in size) the minimum width of content divs? On small screens, this would mean that it's necessary to scroll sideways. If not, then I believe that many (maybe tens of thousands?) current MathJax posts would break in some way, such as overlapping with other elements.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Using the desktop layout, I see a width of 667px for the post-text div of a question on math.SE and a question on meta.SE (already using the new layout), so it seems that the width is preserved. $\endgroup$ Jul 10, 2018 at 7:37
  • $\begingroup$ We are trying to identify any site specific issues with responsive as we go. I'm sure we will miss some. MathJax should work fine. But depending on your viewport size there may be some side scrolling needed to see items that can't be wrapped. This is true on many sites. It's just the reality of where we are at. That said, we are happy to investigate optimizations if you all have ideas. $\endgroup$
    – Joe Friend
    Jul 17, 2018 at 21:57

Not sure if this is the most appropriate spot to report this, but here it is anyway.

Start from my Meta profile and click on the link in blue:

enter image description here

The initial view cuts off the top of the answer:

enter image description here

Something similar also happens when answers are submitted. Browser is Chrome 67.0.3396.99 on a Windows desktop.

It appears that this happens with all answer links.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Works fine with Firefox on mobile. But still the top black bar should not be visible all the time. $\endgroup$
    – Paramanand Singh Mod
    Jul 13, 2018 at 2:56
  • $\begingroup$ @ParamanandSingh As of a few hours ago, this seems to have been fixed for me. $\endgroup$ Jul 13, 2018 at 3:15
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I've seen similar bugs, and always just assumed that this was because clicking the link initially aligns the new page to the top of the answer, but then all the MathJax renders and messes with the vertical spacing. $\endgroup$ Jul 13, 2018 at 16:01

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