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I'm a new user. I was looking at the main site, and trying to learn more about how things work, so I clicked the FAQ link; then I clicked something else, I'm not sure what, and found a bunch of interesting questions about meta topics. After ten minutes of clicking around and reading questions, I clicked the FAQ link again, and only then discovered that I'm now on the meta site.

I see now that the color schemes are different, but I never would have noticed that. (I'm partly color-blind.) I also see now that the word "meta" appears in the banner at the top of the page--but I had looked at that banner half a dozen times before I saw that word; it's small and squeezed close to "USAGE".

So I'm wondering if there could be clearer signposts for people entering the meta site. A notice saying "You are now entering THE METAZONE"? A bigger or more separated "meta" label at the top (perhaps on a line by itself underneath the title)? A stronger color difference? I dunno; I'm not a designer. But it would've been helpful to me to have a stronger differentiation.

That said, this may only be an issue for the few new color-blind users who accidentally stumble across the meta site; and even then, it's not a huge problem. So this may not be worth improving; just a thought.

  • Hmm, how visible is the "Meta" label in the title for you? It's possible that the color scheme could be changed, but I'm not sure – simchona Jul 24 '12 at 17:02
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    Did you mean color-blind in the medical sense? Or in the 'oops I didn't notice the color difference' sense? Because if it's a medical thing, I'm sure is something a Stack Exchange designer can do to alleviate that problem. – corsiKa Jul 25 '12 at 3:16
  • Anyone feels that now the meta site should have a meta site of it's own? It's an endless process, I'm telling you. – asymptotically Jul 27 '12 at 16:57
  • This came up on Meta.SE and I thought you might be interested in giving some input: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/244419/…. – Kit Z. Fox Dec 23 '15 at 12:54
  • Huh, I somehow never found my way back to this. Belated response to corsiKa: I meant color-blind in the literal medical sense. And yep, in general there are plenty of things designers can do to help make navigation easier for color-blind visitors. – Jed Hartman Aug 22 '18 at 2:06
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I think this is a great feature request. I know that the main and meta sites are supposed to have a consistent look and feel, but making Main colorific and Meta grayscale (as seems to be the pattern across SE sites) and keeping everything else identical does not provide helpful cues for users with poor color vision. I agree that the "meta" in the title is not particularly noticeable.

It would be nice to have some other simple stylistic cues that are not color dependent that indicate the user is on Meta instead of Main.

  • How about instead of a subscript 'meta' after the main title, just make it the first part of the title "Meta English Language...". The links are fine, you just want to know that you're on the right (or wrong) page if you get there, and the subscript and color wash is too subtle. – Mitch Jul 25 '12 at 14:11
  • Maybe. I was thinking that changing the borders or font for the question titles, and perhaps altering the answer separators might suffice. – Kit Z. Fox Jul 25 '12 at 14:14
  • So just some additional visual markers? nothing too radical? – Mitch Jul 25 '12 at 14:29
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    @Mitch Yes, just some simple non-color-based visual markers. – Kit Z. Fox Jul 25 '12 at 14:29
  • You realize of course that only rare cases of colorblindness are really just black-and-white-seers. Red-green colorblind people see colors just fine, just they can't -distinguish- red and green. Are they gray? I don't know, but they can still see color. (note that it's not a problem of lack of red or green cones in the retina, it's a problem of the opponent process layer which... ok I'll stop now...you probably already have a lecture about that ready.) – Mitch Jul 25 '12 at 14:55
  • @KitFox, sounds like a good suggestion to me. Note, though, that users with various vision issues sometimes have to override fonts, so a pure-font approach might not help. Making the "meta" in the header more prominent and changing something in the graphic styling (like the separators) would probably be better than fonts. – Monica Cellio Jul 25 '12 at 15:39
  • @Mitch Thanks, I studied primate vision in graduate school. ;-) – Kit Z. Fox Jul 25 '12 at 16:46
  • If you search MSO for "color-blind" and such, they don’t seem to be very prone to make allowances. Alas! – tchrist Sep 5 '12 at 16:38
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I do believe that clicking on URLs that link to the meta site opens them in a new tab/window. IMO, this is sufficient indication provided it happens consistently (I have not checked). Furthermore, I reckon that this is an issue that occurs only initially when the user is getting used to the site, and will disappear once content breeds familiarity :|

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    SE links do not behave that way unless you've instructed your browser to do that. – Monica Cellio Sep 5 '12 at 19:07
  • @MonicaCellio Did you actually test this out in your browser? – coleopterist Sep 5 '12 at 19:43
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    hmm, although I'm pretty certain that the 'meta' menu link also used to behave in the same manner, only the links in the "community bulletin" section do so at the moment. – coleopterist Sep 5 '12 at 19:54
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    I did -- with the "meta" link at the top and with a meta link in a random comment. I hadn't noticed that the "community bulletin" behaves differently from everything else. – Monica Cellio Sep 5 '12 at 21:39
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    I think forcing a new tab/window on the user is a poor design choice unless changing the current one would break something (like a form submission in progress). Users have the ability to send a link to a new tab or window, so let them decide. – Monica Cellio Sep 5 '12 at 21:39
  • @MonicaCellio Quite so. – coleopterist Sep 6 '12 at 8:02

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