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This is how the top bar appears in October 2017 on my desktop. I like the search box, it's larger and it is clear. But it's off-center, it's like a picture frame that's askew, I want to align the search box either to the extreme right (or left) or place it bang in the centre. I can live with the jet black strip, it's been with us since December 2013 but I do not like the chunky icons. I do not.

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This is how the top bar and the same question looked in 2013. Simple, elegant and easy to navigate.

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Same screenshot but with arrows, notes, and stuff..

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Another example, today...

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and May 25, 2012 (link)

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Unfortunately, I don't have a screenshot of a question as it appeared prior 2014 to a user but it seems to me that the old top bar was far easier to use and navigate for visitors, newcomers and users alike than it is today.

  • Why does the developing team at SE prefer weird-looking icons to using actual words?

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One user described the first icon as looking like a square bra, and he's absolutely right! It took me some time to figure out it was an in-tray (mail). And I get that Stack Exchange has that bubble logo divided into layers (nicknamed “hamburger”), but it doesn't tell me I have to click there in order to switch sites.

Thoughts?


UPDATE 22 October 2017

Ten days later, and I still find myself clicking on the StackExchange logo on the far left to visit meta. Grr... Can we not have an icon meta, like back in 2013? And while we're at it, it seems to me the badges icons are redundant, the numbers are self-explanatory.

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If the searchbox could be repositioned, the meta icon would sit nicely next to the SE logo. It looks better, doesn't it?

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related: What the f*** just happened?

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    Until they push the changes through to the stackexchange.com parent site, clicking the left hamburger on ELU brings you to Hot Questions, which has something that looks like the ELU left hamburger in the left hamburger spot, but is really the old switcher (or ELU's right hamburger, or wrong hamburger, or whatever). – Lawrence Oct 12 '17 at 13:13
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    I like the "faq" link in the old user interface. – Lawrence Oct 12 '17 at 13:29
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    The review icon is a speaking stapler. Now you can't unsee it ;) – curiousdannii Oct 12 '17 at 13:38
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    Nice comparison of the different layouts and design of the toolbar through the years..but what is the point here? If our feedback had been important, they would have asked... – user66974 Oct 12 '17 at 14:17
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    @Josh well they have there are a lot of moans on meta about the icons and nobody likes the fact that the menu to reach the different sites has swapped to the right-hand side. I was asking why the developers have a preference for icons, maybe it's a language thing?? Toh, it's just come to me. – Mari-Lou A Oct 12 '17 at 14:21
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    @Mari-LouA - I think developers have a different sense of preferences compared to users ( in general, I can say that from my professional experience) and they have very little sense of "elegance". They are technicians that set things up. Design and elegance are redundant. – user66974 Oct 12 '17 at 14:24
  • @Mari-LouA Yup, that language thing rings true. Picking a language favours that language. Then again, English is a global trade-language these days. – Lawrence Oct 12 '17 at 14:28
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    @Lawrence could be but... when a mouse hovers over the icon there's a long spiel about its meaning, in English, wouldn't the single-word be simpler to understand for non-native speakers? Short easy words like FAQ, meta, chat, I can't remember what they used to represent personal notifications but it was on the left-hand side of the top bar. – Mari-Lou A Oct 12 '17 at 14:33
  • With due respect to all members, such changes in interface are most irritating for people aged 49+ and the youngsters don't even notice if the whole site is redesigned overnight -- it's tragic that nobody consulted you (I really mean nobody consulted the users) before making these changes @Mari-lou A. Whoever designed the square in-tray might well have unconscious motivations for choosing the design but the use of icons for words is a global trend, and I can give you the feedback that the Android mobile site for browsers (which I use) has had some of these icons since at least April this year. – English Student Oct 12 '17 at 15:47
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    @EnglishStudent I'm annoyed that there's no lawn anymore for you to get off of. – Mitch Oct 12 '17 at 15:49
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    @EnglishStudent If you don't notice the redesign, you won't mind it being put back how it was to keep us oldies happy. – Andrew Leach Oct 12 '17 at 15:53
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    @Mari-LouA No argument from me about preferring short, easy words like FAQ, meta, chat. – Lawrence Oct 12 '17 at 16:00
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    Yes, I assume the icons are preferred for language reasons. Now, if only Google Translate had an option for translating icon --> English. – 1006a Oct 12 '17 at 17:16
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    @Mitch the top bar HAS stopped... – Mari-Lou A Oct 12 '17 at 17:20
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    Even with your description, I cannot see the in-tray as a square bra. Looks very unambiguously like an in-tray to me. Then again, I’m used to using the iOS app (which has had the in-tray forever), don’t recall ever seeing any square bras, and I probably count (just!) as one of those young’uns that English Student was talking about. The only part about the new design that bothers me is that utterly annoying search bar, which is about twice as big as it needs to be. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Oct 20 '17 at 23:27

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