EL&U needs rescuing
A few days ago I posted the following:
The new theme still sucks. There I said it, and in American English, too.
There's an overall sense of claustrophobia, oppression, the lines... so many lines… everything at the top is squished and then you have this relatively "huge" space where the words, Top Questions, stand majestically and unfettered.
I hope this graphic raises a smile or two because I don't want to go all melodramatic...I really don't. I'm trying my very very best. But it's awful.
Without my squiggles and the top bar.
The whole thing needs a revamp, a new makeover. Everything needs to be changed, color, decorative elements, and those ugly horizontal poles which are strangling the logo.
But let's agree to keep the Baskerville Italic Ampersand, please. That is sacred.
However, after posting this answer (which I've edited for clarity and style) the Community Manager informed me that I was doing it all wrong.
It didn't change. The whole point of this post is to encourage y'all to take the time and start a discussion about what you want. We're not going to keep changing things and having people like or dislike it. We need some sort of place to start from. Go start that discussion.
Confused, I replied
@Catija I thought I did?
"So, if you think the new logo is horrible, start an EL&U Meta question about it here and come up with a solution - it doesn't have to be a perfectly-rendered drawing of what it should look like." @Catija
I can't come up with a solution, I'm not a graphic designer. I don't know what's possible and what isn't. That should be the job of someone who is. I've identified what doesn't work for me. That's a start @Mari-Lou A
Soon after, user 1006 also posted an answer. Users with less than 10K can now see 1006's wonderful effort here.
Please, please pay a visit and contribute with ideas and solutions, I know that a number of users are (or were) graphic designers, and EL&U's theme necessitates high-quality professional assistance.
Here is the Community Manager's response to 1006a's post, who had also made the mistake of posting an answer
The other answer [Mari-Lou A] here is, essentially, "the new site theme sucks, fix it" but telling us to fix it - well, we tried to fix it and y'all still hated it. We can't fix it if we don't know what y'all would consider an improvement. We could redesign it a dozen times and you still wouldn't be happy... but if y'all think of something you like, we can make a design that uses what you like and fits our limitations. And if you have questions about what can be customized, you can ask that here
There are a number of things that I find irritating about this reply, it's difficult to know where to begin but I'll try.
- First “we tried to fix it”
I contest that the developers tried their best. They enlarged the logo and reintroduced the same decorative poles that had been removed in the earlier version. The space below the logo was reduced and the font used for “Top Questions” is lighter. I'm not sure how many hours of work were required in order to achieve this but I don't think it could have been many. I might be wrong. I am neither a developer nor a web designer.
- Second “We can't fix it if we don't know what y'all would consider an improvement.”
The site provided an abundance of input: here, here, here, and here. Explanations and possible improvements and solutions: here, here here, here, and here from the end of August right through to October .
- Third “We could redesign it a dozen times and you still wouldn't be happy...”
How about if you (the Community Manager uses "we" throughout, so I am not attacking her personally) had redesigned it with thought, care and some attention to detail in the first place?
Everything was stripped bare. EL&U never had fancy icons for badges. EL&U never had a decorative footer. EL&U never had quirky voting arrows. EL&U never had an image on their banner or in the background to begin with. But what delicate flourishes and small details EL&U had were stripped away until the site today looks flat, unappealing and uninviting.
- Fourth “but if y'all think of something you like, we can make a design that uses what you like and fits our limitations.”
Is Stack Exchange asking EL&U users to improvise as web designers? I'd like to point out that the many of its users are not computer scientists, engineers, designers or website developers. We're not that kind of site. It says so in the banner English Language & Usage.
UPDATE Monday February 18, 2019
Silence. No communication/confirmation/update whatsoever from anyone on the SE team. If you're familiar with feature requests and constructive criticisms about User Interface, e.g. the many many suggestions to improve HNQ that are posted on MSE (Meta Stack Exchange), this is pretty much the norm.
UPDATE Sunday 23 June, 2019
Still silence, only interrupted by the sound of rustling tumbleweeds. Is it just me or has the quality of questions by new contributors dropped even further? Is there a way to measure this statistic?
Furthermore, speaking purely for myself, I have greatly reduced the number of contributions I make to the site because of LQQs and because I find the site's desktop theme frankly depressing. What about others?