Sadly, the layout of this site was changed. I always was glad about the superior layout compared to other sites that already had this layout.

What were the reasons for this change ? What was wrong with the previous layout ?

What actually could be improved : Opening a chatroom on this site is a challenge. I only managed to open a chatroom automatically (when a message to avoid discussions appeared).

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    $\begingroup$ I wouldn't mind the new layout (at least the color scheme I prefer to what we had) if the left and right sidebars were resizable! Almost half of the horizontal space taken up by the left bar is empty; this is insanity. $\endgroup$ – darij grinberg Aug 9 '18 at 17:26
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    $\begingroup$ I was about to ask, if the layout got changed. I do not like it so far. It looks so squeezed. To much going on there an the left and right side. It is really distracting in my opinion. $\endgroup$ – Cornman Aug 9 '18 at 17:30
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    $\begingroup$ I have a few tabs open with questions I keep meaning to write answers to, and I'm almost scared to refresh those pages now, since they're all I have left of the old theme. $\endgroup$ – Robert Howard Aug 9 '18 at 17:33
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    $\begingroup$ @darij: Funny, I don't like the new color scheme but the navbar doesn't bother me as much. $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Aug 9 '18 at 17:59
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    $\begingroup$ I am going to vote for someone who promises me, to bring back the old layout, in the election. Make math.stackexchange layout great again. $\endgroup$ – Cornman Aug 9 '18 at 20:53
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    $\begingroup$ Man I hate this left and right sidebar nonsense that is cluttering high end websites these days. There's no reason to have a sidebar that basically has no purpose and is almost entirely blank. Reddit's redesign pissed me off enough as a moderator of a large subreddit over there. This might make me abandon MSE. $\endgroup$ – Cameron Williams Aug 9 '18 at 20:53
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    $\begingroup$ Adding to the previous comment, I seriously dislike the color choices compared to old MSE. The colors are more cutesy now and totally unattractive to me. $\endgroup$ – Cameron Williams Aug 9 '18 at 21:04
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    $\begingroup$ The key ingredience is in my view, to force more attention at the colors, at the tags, at the organisatoric tools of the page - maybe the programmers of the software want that also their realm gets more prominent and gets more merits: just rivalry to the mathematical nerds which dominate the scene so long... That the attention is distracted from the variable content is then a byproduct, unavoidable, of course. Now we have more(?) than half of the vertical space in the initial page full of redundant info for that reader which works more than 1 time a month with the page ... $\endgroup$ – Gottfried Helms Aug 10 '18 at 7:04
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    $\begingroup$ ... I bet it shall become even more prominent in the course of the site, look at what happended to wikipedia (I think there it is 90 % of content on the initial pages which you would not expect to have to deal with when you're going to do research in an encyclopedia). This is a very saddening, while common, process in many teams after the initial period of pioneering a new idea... For me, I'm feeling getting sick about this, and am already open to look for new alternatives where such a mathematical nerdism is still more dominant. $\endgroup$ – Gottfried Helms Aug 10 '18 at 7:08
  • $\begingroup$ @GottfriedHelms Seems so, the sad aspect is that math stack exchange is a very active forum that would not have needed this course. Let us see whether some users react and leave it ... $\endgroup$ – Peter Aug 10 '18 at 8:16
  • $\begingroup$ There are more issues with this site : $(1)$ Opening a chat-room should be much easier. $(2)$ The bounty-points are lost even if noone answers. $(3)$ If a user is removed, the reputation points coming from this user, are lost. And now, the layout-issue. $\endgroup$ – Peter Aug 10 '18 at 9:59
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    $\begingroup$ @peter - hmm, it's really a pain the new interface. I think I'll take a short timeout and look at some older exercises of mine which need textual improvements - which I really should have done earlier, so I've something to do anyway. I'll not be surprised when I come back and find 3D-frames around each graphical element or so... $\endgroup$ – Gottfried Helms Aug 10 '18 at 14:13

I've just learned that (as a logged-in user) you can hide the left navbar in your profile settings (Profile -> Edit Profile & Settings -> Preferences -> Hide left navigation). If you do so, you can still access it as a pop-out menu, so you just need one extra click.

  • $\begingroup$ How do you access it as a pop-out menu? Is this via the keyboard shortcuts? $\endgroup$ – Theoretical Economist Aug 9 '18 at 23:40
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    $\begingroup$ The very left icon at the top black bar. $\endgroup$ – darij grinberg Aug 9 '18 at 23:49
  • $\begingroup$ Oh, huh. Didn't see that there. That's useful. Thanks! $\endgroup$ – Theoretical Economist Aug 9 '18 at 23:50
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    $\begingroup$ Yes, useful, but still the new layout is annoying. $\endgroup$ – Peter Aug 10 '18 at 8:13
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    $\begingroup$ Now we just need that little menu to be a mouse-over dropdown rather than a mouse-click dropdown. $\endgroup$ – Joffan Aug 10 '18 at 14:16
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    $\begingroup$ @Joffan: I'm not sure that we need that. Mouse-click has an advantage: the menu doesn't have to disappear when you move the mouse outside of its bounding box. It would make a great optional setting, though. $\endgroup$ – darij grinberg Aug 10 '18 at 16:19
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    $\begingroup$ Thanks! With all the blank space in the left sidebar, they should put your answer there permanently and save users a lot of trouble and frustration! $\endgroup$ – Steve Kass Aug 14 '18 at 14:55
  • $\begingroup$ Nice. This makes it harder for me to get lost meandering the website so I will spend more time on coursework! $\endgroup$ – Andres Mejia Aug 15 '18 at 16:52

This change is not about this particular SE site, all sites will get a new design. SE has explained some of their reasons for doing this on the main Meta site (Ch-ch-ch-changes: Left nav, responsive design, & themes).

One major reason to change all designs is to unify the core of the designs and make future changes to the entire platform easier. Currently, any UI changes have to take into account a lot of very different designs, and might break on only some of them.

SE is also moving to a responsive web design. The basic idea of that concept is that the website adapts automatically to any screen size. This is a good thing, many websites are moving into this direction, and while it causes some disruption in the meantime, it should improve the layout for many situations. I'm not sure if SE has stated this explicitly, but I assume that doing that for all existing designs separately would have been entirely infeasible and one driving factor for the design unification.

The sidebar on the left is probably the most controversial change, and I suspect that it is mostly because it is very empty right now. There are additional uses for that space planned like custom question lists, but they're not done yet.


First, it's spelled "ch-ch-ch-change".

Rationale: SE decided that SO needs left nav, which for them means that every site needs left nav. Also, there are too many sites to make an elaborate design for each: ergo, nobody will have an elaborate design.

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

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    $\begingroup$ Well, I am not surprised anymore : "ch-ch-ch-change" enough said ... $\endgroup$ – Peter Aug 9 '18 at 17:55

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