Your site looks a bit different today. The design changes are a "sneak peek" at the new Stack Exchange Beta theme. Yes, we are getting rid of the 'Sketchy' look and replacing it with a more-polished and finished design for sites in beta.

We chose Judaism SE to premiere this new theme because we felt an active community like Judaism SE was the best way to solicit timely feedback (bugs, stuff we missed, etc). Please take a look around to see if anything is missing, misaligned, difficult to read, etc. If everything is in order, we will roll out the new design across the network. A blog post will follow shortly.

Please note: This will not affect your "graduation" status in any way. Judaism SE will still receive its own design when you graduate (soon, hopefully).

If you're still seeing the old favicons, please load the following urls and do a hard browser refresh.




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    Re: "graduation" Ad Mosai Ad Mosai Ad Mosai :) – Shmuel Brin Feb 28 '12 at 20:51
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    Looks good. Do you also want preference-type feedback ("I like/dislike aspect X of the new theme because..."), or only feedback on problems (like, as you put it, stuff that's "missing, misaligned, difficult to read")? – msh210 Feb 28 '12 at 20:51
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    Grmph I liked the old theme more. (Of course by tomorrow I'm sure I'll have gotten used to it and forgotten all about it.) – Shalom Feb 28 '12 at 20:53
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    (Rough translation of @ShmuelBrill's comment: "How long, how long, how long".) – msh210 Feb 28 '12 at 20:55
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    Do you want feedback as answers here or as new questions? – Isaac Moses Feb 28 '12 at 20:59
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    @Isaac Add your feedback as answers to this question. Thanks. – Robert Cartaino Feb 28 '12 at 21:00
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    Beta site and Meta site look too similar (the colors are almost identical) and there is only one letter difference. – Shmuel Brin Feb 28 '12 at 22:12
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    As a follow-up to this comment: I hope you knew what you were getting yourself into asking this crowd for "feedback." – Isaac Moses Feb 29 '12 at 2:40
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    A theme I'm seeing in many of the answers is that things are harder to see/read than they used to be -- size, colors, contrast, etc. I suspect that the work was done by an excellent craftsman with 20/20 vision and the tools of an excellent craftsman (including a stand-out, large monitor). The general population, which SE is increasingly trying to reach, has a much wider range of accessibility needs and equipment, and possibly less patience and skill to circumvent challenging design, than those on StackOverflow. Just something to think about. – Monica Cellio Feb 29 '12 at 14:04
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    Note: as issues are resolved, the answer will be deleted to keep this page clean with the outstanding issues – Jin Mar 1 '12 at 18:10
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    For what it's worth, the new beta theme just looks like a regular site, without any special template. I think the concept of "beta" fits nicely with the current "sketch" theme. (Kvetch kvetch.) – eykanal Mar 5 '12 at 17:51
  • @Jin I can't tell if you have updated things, or if I've just gotten used to the new design, but I like it now. However the ask a question button could still be better highlighted. – avi Mar 7 '12 at 9:07

21 Answers 21


On the front page (for an experienced user, anyway), the most salient features are the orange "Add" buttons for favorite and ignored tags. This is out of proportion to their importance. It would probably make sense to make these buttons blue instead, so that they don't grab the eye as much.

Meanwhile, the "Ask Question" link at the top-right has lost a great deal prominence, despite its being one of the most important links on the page. This should be enlarged and/or punched up with color, position, or some other aspect.

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    +1 for both points. (Not half each. One each: but I can't +2.) – msh210 Feb 28 '12 at 22:29
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    @Issac we plan to add more community promotional content above where Add Favorite/Ignore tags section. So that section will be pushed down more and won't be as prominent. I think that should fix the problem. – Jin Mar 1 '12 at 17:56
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    @Jin, thanks for the update. I'm looking forward to that feature! – Isaac Moses Mar 1 '12 at 18:18

The (unselected) checkmark next to an answer looks very like a down-arrow.

Perhaps the left arm of the checkmark could be shortened, or its right arm lengthened, so they are more dissimilar in length.


Can we choose a lighter shade of red (or another color in general) for char responses:

red ow!

That red seems too bright against the light background.

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    Agreed, please keep it a blue/green color – avi Feb 29 '12 at 8:37
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    I think the a very light bright green is in order here. – Double AA Mar 1 '12 at 4:54
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    We have lightened the red quite a bit. It's live now. – Jin Mar 1 '12 at 17:59

On the bottom corner of the chat the logo seems forced:


Maybe remove the white box from around the logo, or lighten the general background (I am not sure of the way to go about this, but there must be some way so it fits seamlessly)

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    Perhaps the logo should be inverted? – avi Feb 29 '12 at 8:37

I had to dial up the font zoom a notch on both main and beta to get back to a size I could read. (I don't know if you changed size, face, or both.) As a one-time change maybe that's a shrug, but it's one more thing for every person (who has vision problems) to cope with on every single SE site.

By the way, as I'm typing this the text in the textbox where I'm typing is easier for me to read than the text in the preview, which did not used to be the case.

Edit: Zooming the font also makes the page wider. I'm now updating from my home machine, where my monitor is not as big as what I have at work, and a readable text size now means the right column (recent tags, badges, site stats, etc) is off-screen. On some web sites resizing the font doesn't impose horizontal scrolling (it just re-lays-out the page). I think that's called "liquid design" and I wonder if anything could be done in that vein to offset the font-size issues.

  • Monica do you still have problem reading the preview text? I check the colors, it's #333 on #fdfdfd. it should be very visible... – Jin Mar 1 '12 at 17:58
  • @Jin, the colors on the preview text are fine. The font size is still kind of small (or the face makes it look that way, or something). I expect to use the Stylish plug-in for Firefox to override the font choices here, but I figured I'd give it some time first in case you make changes (and because writing my own CSS is a pain; I don't really know CSS). – Monica Cellio Mar 2 '12 at 2:59

I use some accessibility mods to create a darker theme. It used to be that I could tell the difference between main and meta easily because main had a blue graphic up top and meta had a gray one. It looks like you've replaced the graphics with link colors, which makes this difference disappear for me. I have to notice the one-character difference between "beta" and "meta", or look up top to see the badge counts.

I am open to donations of CSS overrides that will make the difference more clear, of course. :-) I think the problem is that you replaced a graphic with a link and all links look the same to me.


On both main and meta, the color of visited links is too similar to that of unvisited links.

Edit: the similar colors appear for user links; for example, I've visited my profile but not some of the other commenters here, and those all look the same to me. This is not true for the question links on the main page of meta; those are clearly differentiated. (The difference is more subtle for questions on the main site; I can see it but it's a little hard.)

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    I'll adjust the contrast. – Jin Feb 29 '12 at 14:37
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    Thanks @Jin! I appreciate your responsiveness to our comments here. – Monica Cellio Feb 29 '12 at 17:12
  • @Jin, Also on the main site the color contrast between an unvisited link and one you hover over is very, very slight. (Edit: it may just be because it's a gradual change, I don't notice it) (Is it just my imagination or does that on-mouseover color change happen gradually on unvisited links and instantly on visited ones? Doesn't seem to be a difference here on meta.) – Hod - Monica's Army Mar 1 '12 at 6:55

I find the colors way to light.. I think the person who designed the site has a very good monitor with amazing contrast ratios.

Most of the buttons, are really hard for me to see, I constantly have to shift the angle of my laptop, and look around.

The +1 numbers on comments are nearly invisible to me, and I thought I had a speck of dirt on my screen.

I'm also finding the "deleted" posts much easier for me to read than the normal ones. I really think the colors of the buttons and fonts just need to be a smidge darker.

For the record, I like the new design, but I was also always impressed with the "in development" look that beta sites had before.


The orange buttons in chat (at the top and the persistent ones on the right) are very bright compared to everything else on the page. I find my eye being drawn to them repeatedly, which is distracting. Any chance of muting the color some?

  • I've noticed the same issue. And the blue site emblem clashes badly with it, to my mind. – Isaac Moses Mar 6 '12 at 5:42

On the profile page, I'm seeing some weird right-shifting of the tabs, which (at my window size) pushes the last two off-screen:

new user profile

Compare this to a site that still uses Sketchy:

old user profile

Firefox 10, Mac (Snow Leopard).

This same shifting happens to me on english.stackexchange, a graduated site, by the way.

  • the New Beta theme's sub tabs on user profile page are right aligned by design, however the tabs don't get cropped unless your browser size is less than 1024px, which is the minimum browser width we support. – Jin Mar 17 '12 at 23:43
  • @Jin, I encourage you to rethink hard-coding a browser width. 1024px would be my entire monitor width on my desktop machine, and bigger than my laptop, and in neither case will I give the browser (or any other app) the full screen. Most yes, all no. BTW, doesn't 1024px rule out most tablets and netbooks? Please please please use a design that is responsive to the space it is given. – Monica Cellio Mar 18 '12 at 4:00

The screenshots on main's /faq page are outdated.

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    We will be updating the FAQ images as we convert the rest of the Sketchy sites. – Jin Feb 28 '12 at 21:45
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    @Jin, Thanks for this new look, I think it's excellent! Should I bother to mention that we still have the "Why does this site look so "sketchy"?" question, or should I assume that that will go together with those images? – Hod - Monica's Army Feb 28 '12 at 21:48
  • @HodofHod that will get cleaned up eventually, yes. (: – Rebecca Chernoff Feb 28 '12 at 21:51

The two header bars each take up more space than they did before, robbing screen real estate from the content. In addition, because the lower, thicker header bar now has a different background than the content (They both used to have graph paper.) and has all its contents vertically centered, it looks even more like it's taking up a lot of space for no reason.

My preference would be to take out about half of the height of the lower bar. An alternative strategy that would make no functional difference but would look nicer would be to add some background graphics there, enlarge the title, and move the section buttons to the bottom of the bar.

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    Thanks for the feedback Issac. The new theme's header is about 25px taller than Sketchy's. I think this is a OK. In fact, many of our graduated sites have much taller header. I think it's a matter of getting used to. The subtle bg texture vs grid lines from Sketchy makes it look more spacious than how it really is. – Jin Feb 29 '12 at 19:47

The hard-wired white background for tags plays poorly with the light text from a reverse-video scheme. When setting colors you need to set either both or neither of background and foreground. (I believe I can figure out how to fix this for me using Stylish/CSS, but I may not be the only person with the problem.)


I just tried to edit a link into a post on the main site only to find that it was already there. I hadn't seen it because the viewed link color was too similar to the regular text color.


On the page moderators can use to send a message directly to a user (mods only, of course), the text entry box appears far to the right of where it belongs.


I'm not sure whether this is related to the new theme (maybe it always existed), but if I get a notification (in that upper-left-hand-corner-thingy) and, on the chat.SE site, click the drop-down to see what the notification is for, then the background of the new item is not yellow as it is on the other sites. This makes it harder to distinguish new responses from old.


  • I can't reproduce this. I'm still my new items having the yellow background. – Jin Mar 2 '12 at 17:00
  • @Jin, just to clarify: they're yellow here; they're white on chat.SE. – msh210 Mar 2 '12 at 17:02

Whenever I add an answer or a comment to a question, my browser (IE 8 on Windows 7) refreshes into compatibility mode.

(Only on the main site, apparently.)

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    See that's your problem! IE! ;-) (Just kidding, no browser flame wars here.) – Hod - Monica's Army Mar 6 '12 at 5:40

I usually use the embedded link in the big title at the top to refresh the page or go to the home page. It seems now that that link-box is smaller and there is much unused white space up there. Can you extend the link area to more than just the text of the title itself?


After clearing a flag with "helpful" or "declined", there's no space between the "close" button that remains and the bottom of the window. This may be as intended, but I suspect not: it looks a bit odd. (Firefox 10.0.2 on a Mac.)



In the bar at the top of each page, the links for faq, chat, review, and main/meta are pretty hard to read -- the text is thin, and it ends up looking pixelated to me (even though it probably isn't). I know what these links are so I only have to pattern-match word shape, but if I were new to the site I wouldn't know that and I would have a lot of trouble reading those in that size/face/style. My user name is much more legible; could you use the same treatment for all the links in the top bar?


Link to Judaism.SE on the side does not work anymore.

All it does is go to list on StackExchange Sites:

side link

Link Address: http://stackexchange.com/sites?expand=true#judaism

  • That's as it should be (and was hitherto), no? – msh210 Mar 5 '12 at 16:41
  • @msh210 nope. thats not how it was before. – Naftali aka Neal Mar 5 '12 at 17:42
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    I think @msh210 is right. I just checked on writers.stackexchange.com and it points to StackExchange there. – Monica Cellio Mar 7 '12 at 13:45
  • @MonicaCellio it is an error on all SE sites when they switched the main SE site to the new format. – Naftali aka Neal Mar 7 '12 at 13:50
  • Oh, I see -- you're saying that even sites that have not switched from Sketchy have changed behavior? – Monica Cellio Mar 7 '12 at 13:59
  • @MonicaCellio exactly. This may have to do with the new StackExchange theme as a whole and specifically this theme. – Naftali aka Neal Mar 7 '12 at 14:00

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