The top bar on SE sites seems to have changed on 4 December 2013. I am curious what people here think of the change. (meta.stackoverflow may be a better place for such discussion and there may already be a question there, but I thought I would post this here.)

One thing I miss is the link to meta (or main if at the meta site). I do not miss the chat link that much, but others might (though there is still a link at the bottom of the page).

The replacing of one's user name with one's avatar provides more horizontal room (perhaps an optimization oriented to mobile displays?), but I kind of miss seeing my name (such seems to give a feeling of self-importance).

The help dropdown is an improvement in my opinion because it provides more context yet takes up less immediate visual space. (I am guessing that "Tour" takes the place of "about" [though there is still an about link at the bottom].)

So what do y'all think of the change?

  • I like it. But I can't provide an unopinionated answer to that. Commented Dec 5, 2013 at 5:25
  • 2
    @LukeBurgess But opinionated answers are part of meta, particularly for discussion questions. While opinion here (by itself) is unlikely to significantly influence a SE-wide design factor, general opinion is significant. Also expressing an opinion might reveal strengths or weaknesses or otherwise encourage improvement (or just express gratitude to the designers [which incidentally would be an encouragement to continue good work]).
    – user3331
    Commented Dec 5, 2013 at 5:37
  • 3
    It turns out that if you click on the site switcher - "Stack Exchange" dropdown in the top left - you get "Christianity" and "Christianity meta" as the top two options here and on main C.SE. It is two clicks rather than one, but it is there.
    – James T
    Commented Dec 5, 2013 at 12:55
  • The meta link is also under the help menu, near where the meta link used to be. It's not intuitive and requires two clicks instead of one, but there it is.
    – Ben Miller
    Commented Dec 5, 2013 at 17:10
  • One question I'm interested in is why there is now a log out link. ;)
    – user3961
    Commented Dec 7, 2013 at 0:49

3 Answers 3


The new top bar was first paraded on the main meta site about a month ago as a beta so many of us have been using it for a while now. It's various merits and shortcomings have also been discussed at length.

While I still have a few nitpicks, overall I think the experience is an improvement.

  • Yeah, it was hard to fathom the lack of a meta button when they only had it on meta SO
    – Peter Turner Mod
    Commented Dec 5, 2013 at 12:27
  • @PeterTurner It was easy enough to extrapolate from the lack of a 'main' link, and it was certainly a topic of conversation. You are aware of its replacement representation in the site tree and also in 'help', yes?
    – Caleb
    Commented Dec 5, 2013 at 12:54
  • @Caleb I did not notice that the help dropdown was different for a main site compared to a meta site. On the meta site, there is a "What's Meta" link not a "Meta" link like on the main site. (This makes sense since if one is on meta navigation to meta's front page is easy. Having a link to explain meta is a nice complement to main-site-oriented "Tour".)
    – user3331
    Commented Dec 5, 2013 at 14:38

I like:

  1. That I can see rep changes for all sites at a glance.
  2. That the Christianity SE bar is now the same height as other sites.
  3. Messages and rep now neatly handled separately.

I don't like:

  1. The disappearance of the meta link. I used this a lot. I also think it will make it harder for new users to work out that there is a place to discuss this site.
  2. The black background. On some sites it looks OK - here on Christianity, with its white background, it looks a bit scary (but here is a great improvement proposal from sci-fi which I have cross-posted to meta).
  3. I miss the chat link. It's a long way to scroll down. :)
  • The StackExchange dropdown has links to blog, chat, log out, the main and meta sites for the current site and one's five highest reputation (main) sites. However, this is not obviously discoverable. Even the hover text "A list of all 112 Stack Exchange sites" does not make it obvious that such links would be found there.
    – user3331
    Commented Dec 5, 2013 at 14:31
  • Oops! that should have been "one's four highest reputation (main) sites" (I had mistakenly counted the current site).
    – user3331
    Commented Dec 5, 2013 at 14:53
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    Worth pointing out that the Help link also contains a link to meta. I'd still rather meta and chat links be visible and not hidden in menus, it is in one of the places people should look when they are trying to find their way around
    – wax eagle
    Commented Dec 5, 2013 at 21:48
  • Christianity.se is one site I had the most concern with the new top bar (vs. previously white). It does clash a bit with the originally design intent I had: the top portion of the site being open and airy. I gave this site's new top bar more translucency so the cloud and tones would jump out a bit more. It's growing on me.
    – Jin
    Commented Dec 9, 2013 at 19:48
  • @Jin: thanks for your reply. Personally I still think it clashes too much - and the dark colour does not fit a site which should be about light. I think the transparent idea would work really well - what do you think? Commented Dec 10, 2013 at 12:40

I like

  • The site-switcher dropdown has a permanent link to the blog: it doesn't appear only when there's a new post.

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