As part of implementing the new unified themes across the network, we're gradually rolling out updated site themes for each site. As of today, we have enabled your updated site theme for testing.

If you can't see it right now, that's by design! We're hoping to get feedback from you before rolling it out to everyone permanently. If you'd like to review it, here's how:

How do I enable it?

Click here and check the "Beta test new themes" option. This will turn on the new theme for all sites that have one in testing, including this one. Here's more info on how to opt in. You can uncheck the box to revert to the older theme until the site is live for everyone (note, it will take a few minutes to go into effect).

What type of feedback do we need?

On this post: Bugs related to this site's design elements

Please help us look for issues/bugs related to the theme design and how we have mapped the old theme to the new. This needs to be done within the limits of the new unified theme.

On Meta Stack Exchange: General concerns about left nav or theming

If you have concerns or issues regarding the left nav or the overall approach we are taking to theming, then this Meta Stack Exchange post is the right place for feedback.

As you may notice, there are some unique design elements like voting arrows and tags that are being standardized in this process. Keeping these custom elements makes our ability to maintain the sites too complex and, while we're very sad to see them go, we're in a difficult position of needing to make the site designs work together so that we can continue to address feature requests and bugs that will make your Q&A experience better. This is addressed in a Meta Stack Exchange post if you want more detail.

What new themes?

If you're like, "What the heck are you talking about?", then you should read the Meta Stack Exchange post entitled Rollout of new network site themes (and maybe the posts it links to for the full background).

Thanks so much for your constructive feedback!

  • 2
    The spaceship isn't in the same place on meta and the main site twitches x_o – Tim Stone Aug 31 at 17:46
  • Twitches? What do you mean? – Catija Aug 31 at 17:48
  • 8
    Okay, it's going to take me a looooong time to not instinctively click the spaceship :P – Ash Aug 31 at 17:50
  • That part was just about my inability to unsee misalignment issues, this was what I was talking about though versus the one here on meta which is flush-right with the main column – Tim Stone Aug 31 at 17:52
  • 1
    It kinda feels odd that logo hover triggers spaceship lazers, and not spaceship hover. I see why though - to have it fire on hover would make it feel clickable, which it's not any more. – fredley Aug 31 at 17:52
  • 1
    @fredley It's not triggered by hovering. It's a gif on a delay. :) – Catija Aug 31 at 17:54
  • 1
    @Catija Hahaha, it just triggered at the point I was hovering then (trying various things to cause it to trigger). – fredley Aug 31 at 17:56
  • I don't think using gif will be a good idea. It gives feeling that site is stuck when hovering over the spaceship. – Black Thunder Sep 4 at 3:49
  • @BlackThunder I'm not sure I understand how hovering over the spaceship gives the impression that the site is stuck. Could you explain? – Catija Sep 4 at 22:56
  • 1
    On the current theme, when we hover over the spaceship then it starts firing. So in the beta theme , as the spaceship don't fires when we hover over it so it look weird and gives that feeling. You can do something like when we move our mouse after hovering over the spaceship, then immediately stop it in an animation like fading. – Black Thunder Sep 5 at 2:37
  • Separate discussion to the animation and the theming, it'd be good if the mothership could eventually do something... Maybe a link to a minigame like Unikong, or perhaps to some sort of 'High Scores'? – Robotnik Sep 6 at 1:14
  • @Robotnik see my comment below. We're making a good amount of effort to keep this site's fun elements but it's really unlikely that we're going to deviate much more than what has already been done because it makes the upkeep of the network much, much more complex. – Catija Sep 6 at 1:19
  • @Catija Sorry, I didn't mean as part of the theming update I should've made that clearer. – Robotnik Sep 6 at 1:24
  • @Robotnik I understand that. My statement is the same, though. Making that area a link would be something different on this site that no other site has, and would risk breaking every time the site is updated. Unless we put a link there for every site on the network, it's a concern for the design team. It's why the sites were slightly redesigned back in 2015 but to a larger degree this time. The last change made the new user profiles possible, this change will make other improvements possible. – Catija Sep 6 at 1:28
  • 3
    ...We might want a 'High Score' table, Photography might want their 'picture of the week'/Hall of fame. RPG might want a dice roller, and so on. Should these things happen right now, in the middle of the theming rollout, with everything else the team has going on? Absolutely not! But I think it was still worth giving it as feedback, because if we didn't, then SE would never know that some communities maybe would like some finer controls over their sites down the line. – Robotnik Sep 6 at 2:08

11 Answers 11

Animation:

UPDATE - The ship only fires once per page load after a five second delay.

Adding hover or click to this does make it more complicated as it makes the base code for this site different than others but it's not out of the realms of possibility to add this. For the time being, thoughts on making the delay for the gif much slower or not repeat indefinitely? It's currently at every 5 seconds, we could either slow it to every 15 or make it only fire once or twice before stopping. ~Catija

The Ask Question mothership lazer animation is distracting because it is no longer triggered by user interaction. It used to fire on hover, now it fires in regular intervals. The animation should only trigger when the user interacts in some way with the ship.


We've changed the font used for the logo to be more legible and still have an Arqade feel. Hopefully y'all like this version. We're going to stick with this for the time being but feel free to start a separate discussion about it (in a new post, maybe?) if you want to talk about it. ~Catija

The site same logo looks weird. I don't think the slanted font works outside of the spaceship.


It is, but only to a degree. Some sites have textures in this space (see Code Review) but it must be pale enough for the black left navigation text to be legible. As such, the light grey from the logo spaceship was used. ~Catija

Is there any specific reason the background at the sides isn't really themeable per-site? I would prefer to have the blue/black stripes there as before. But I haven't seen any new site designs that keep that part of the old designs.


While it looks like there's room for it, remember that the site design is responsive, so on narrower or mobile screens, it would interfere with the site logo/name. ~Catija

There's plenty of space where the tabs used to be, might as well put the mountains that were under the logo there.


New and improved, now with more windows! ~Catija

I think the spaceship formerly known as the Ask Question mothership does need a few more details in the area where the text used to be. The large uniform area looks a bit out of place there.

  • Funnily enough, I know a few people who are going to be happier without the stripes, as they found them an uncomfortable visual distraction. – Ash Aug 31 at 18:16
  • 2
    Agreed with the concerns over the mothership animation. The animation would be better off remaining an 'Easter Egg' on-hover or on-click imo – Robotnik Sep 1 at 8:28
  • @Robotnik I'm pretty sure that that's too much of a departure from the baseline to add. A gif is still just an image. That's way different than having to build in a hover or click area. If the firing is too often that it's distracting, that can be adjusted by either pacing it slower or only having it repeat x times. – Catija Sep 1 at 19:15
  • @Catja it shouldn't be. it was on-hover on the old theme. Plus it's about 3 seconds of work in CSS: w3schools.com/cssref/sel_hover.asp – Robotnik Sep 1 at 20:52
  • 3
    @Robotnik I'm not sure that the spaceship is a separate image from the background. If it's not, defining the location of the hover area makes it more complex. The thing to remember, though... it's not about whether it's individually easy to implement. We need to be able to make changes to the entire network without breaking individual sites and having to fix them one at a time. That's the entire point of this design update. Every element that's special for one site makes that a risk. That's what we're trying to avoid. – Catija Sep 2 at 2:29
  • 6
    @Catija - This UX.SE answer makes a good point about why animation without user interaction is visually distracting and actually detrimental to users attempting to interact with the site. – Robotnik Sep 3 at 23:48
  • 2
    It should technically be possible to have a non-monotone background apart from mere colour changes, as there are sites in the new design that use this feature to their advantage, like Code Review or Mathematics. However, they're still quite a bit more subtle than a heavy blue, so maybe that's the problem. – Ulukai Sep 4 at 11:45
  • 2
    @Catija RE: "..thoughts on making the delay for the gif much slower or not repeat indefinitely?" - Making it slower won't solve the problems we have raised here. Making it not repeat indefinitely is a better solution than 'always animated' but still not great, and needs fleshing out on the details - is it going to repeat once? 5 times? Is it going to trigger on every page load? Once per session? Once per UTC day? – Robotnik Sep 6 at 1:09
  • @Robotnik Making it slower does address many of the annoyance issues because it will happen many fewer times... As I stated, it's an in the interim change because on hover or on click is much more complicated to implement. Adding it to one site potentially will cause it to break every time the network is updated. The area that triggers the action might get moved and since this is the only site with it, it would probably get forgotten in the update process... and then you'll constantly have to report that it doesn't work properly, which is exactly what we're trying to avoid. – Catija Sep 6 at 1:17
  • If it's a limited repeat, it'd be per page load, whatever it was. – Catija Sep 6 at 1:17
  • 2
    I'd like to concur and ask that the mothership's animation not repeat. I feel like there is some mechanism to prevent GIFs from repeating. I'd much rather the lazer happen a few moments after the image loads and then never happen again. As the UX post points out, animation can be very distracting. – zero298 Sep 6 at 12:20

Can we get a face for our beloved mothership?

Without the 'Ask Question' text, the face of the mothership looks really plain:

Mothership

Can mothership v2 have a few more turrets/lazors/features in the blank space?

  • Check this modified spaceship. Notice the difference. – Black Thunder Sep 6 at 12:04
  • 1
    @BlackThunder don't distribute links to intrusive sites that want to put notifications in your browser left right and center – Ferrybig Sep 14 at 9:56

A couple of things I noticed:

1. What happened to our 'Planet surface'/Arcade Footer?

Old:
Old footer New:
New footer

Now it just looks like we're floating in space...


The left nav is collapsed by design on some pages, the Help Center is one of them. You can access it in the upper left corner hamburger menu.

2. The help center home page has no left-nav

(all the help articles do)

Help Center Home Page

Doesn't the Rocket portion (logo) look weird? There is no grass under the rocket. The text ARQADE is also not in the rocket body.

Old:

old

New:

enter image description here

  • If the text were in the rocket, it'd be illegible. Putting the decorations under the rocket would require the logo to be even smaller. – Catija Sep 6 at 12:29
  • @Catija Then you can increase the height of the page to give some space to the logo. – Black Thunder Sep 6 at 12:30
  • 1
    No. The banner height is specifically fixed for the entire network. We have some sites complaining that the banner exists at all and getting rid of it isn't something we're interested in because of sites like Arqade that do have content in them, but we need to be cognizant of the sites that don't have fun content in their banners... as such, the height of the banner was shortened to meet in the middle. – Catija Sep 6 at 16:41

Maybe we should just ditch the mothership entirely

(Dodges eggs from mothership fanatics!)

Others have said that the mothership feels out of place by just randomly shooting its laser beam, rather than doing it on hover like it used to. Ultimately though, the mothership just seems to me like an old artifact that doesn't really fit on the current site, and I think that replacing it with something else would be better than fixing it.

For a site about gaming, I'd expect a game controller, or a pixel character, or a ? block, or something else that's evocative of gaming. The mothership doesn't convey to me "gaming". It conveys to me "science fiction" (and we already have Science Fiction & Fantasy Stack Exchange).

I'd be in favor of just replacing the mothership, rather than trying to "fix it". If a replacement now isn't really viable, then I'd be okay with a replacement on a later date.

  • 6
    +1 for the idea. The design has always been sorta pixels+spaaaace+scanlines so with that in mind I wouldn't mind seeing a completely-redesigned mothership that was a bit more not-a-button. Addressing your other suggestions: I think it's best that the design doesn't allude to any particular game, franchise or platform, so out of your 3 suggestions I'd say 'generic' or 'made up' pixel art characters might be the best solution there. (We could call them Arqadians?) – Robotnik Sep 6 at 5:28

Two questions:

  1. Can we have the old footer imagery back? In particular the old old gaming dot stackexchange dot com heart.

  1. The new logotype doesn't feel right to me, it's very jagged, and the D isn't aligned with the other letters. Would it be possible to see what it would look like with less slant, or no slants on the horizontals?

RIP Ask Question Mothership Long Live Faceless Mothership

(thanks for preserving the lazers)

  • Agreed with the logotype. I think it was one of the original font types suggested when we got our own design, but I never really cared for it then either. – MBraedley Sep 2 at 20:19

The first thing I noticed is how bright the background is now without the textured background we used to have that now only applies to the header/footer. Arqade was one of the few sites I didn't have to have a custom dark theme for as it was dark enough not to hurt my eyes with continued use. Can we get a darker background for the left and right sides, or even just have the background match the header and footer?

  • As I mentioned in Mad Scientist's answer, because of our work to standardize the LESS we're using for the network, the left nav text needs to be legible and it must be black. As such, dark theming isn't possible because it makes it impossible to see the black text. – Catija Sep 5 at 20:37
  • 1
    @Catija i guess ill just have to write a custom extension to make the dark theme. though if everything is supposed to be standardized, it seems like it should be incredibly easy to also make a dark theme (with light text) that is toggle-able. as it stands now, i cant use any site i dont have a dark theme for on the network for more than about 5 minutes without my eyes hurting from how bright they are. – Dragonrage Sep 5 at 20:44
  • People have been requesting a dark theme for either specific sites or the network for years. Considering we have at least 60 sites with custom designs, that would be a huge amount of work for a very small design team! :) Unfortunately, I don't think we can meet that request any time soon. – Catija Sep 5 at 20:48
  • @Dragonrage DarkReader is pretty good if all you want is a 'Dark Mode' for text. Works pretty well on the beta theme – Robotnik Sep 6 at 7:01
  • @Robotnik i used some custom styling that i used on a few of the other sites with Stylus. you can see how it looks here – Dragonrage Sep 6 at 8:49

Is the old mobile site slated to be replaced by the responsive design any time soon? Because there are a couple of things I noticed when switching from old mobile to the full responsive site that are concerning

1. Too much going on in the top bar.

May just be a symptom of having mod tools, but there is no free space on the bar, no clear separation of areas. Could we maybe drop or combine some functionality here on mobile widths? For example:

  • Drop or combine the SE logo content box into the site switcher or left-nav dropdown, and/or
  • Combine the diamond and the blue flag notification, and/or
  • Combine everything into Left nav except search, main (red) notifications and the site switcher

Top bar

2. The tag page 'Learn More' etc gets squished:

Can this wrap to another line instead?

Tag Page on mobile

3. The question title text is too big on long questions

Potentially reduce the font size at mobile widths?

Long Question title

  • The mobile version is definitely in progress and many of these things are already being addressed. That said, this isn't specific to Arqade, so should be posted on the MSE post rather than here. :) – Catija Sep 9 at 1:12
  • @Catija - Done. :) – Robotnik Sep 10 at 3:21

The largest point of feedback for me is that watched tags are no longer highlighted in blue, and ignored tags are not greyed out. This makes it more strenuous for me to determine which questions I can potentially answer.

Also, the mothership should not animate unless you hover over it. It's immediately distracting when it shoots its lasers, and there's no reason it should be ripping my attention away from answering questions.

There is a link to badges in the top bar (very top of the achievements dropdown). At this point, there's no plan to add badges to the sidebar. ~Catija

The Badges button seems to have evaporated. I am not sure if this is because people decided it wasn't useful or used often or what, but I miss it, because I used it reasonably often in moderation things and to remind myself of stuff. Can we have it back somewhere? Like there doesn't appear to be anyplace to see a list of all the badges you can get, which feels off to me somehow. No fun earning a thing if you can't like...see how to work for it.

  • If it's about this Badges list, then it has been moved (and unified) to the top of Achievements pop-up on the top bar, alongside with the Privileges list – antimo Aug 31 at 20:04

Once you opt-in to the beta, you can't switch back out to the old theme.

I unchecked "Beta test new themes", but I'm still seeing the beta theme.

Nevermind, as Catija commented, there's just a few minutes delay before the theme swaps back.

Arqade settings

  • 2
    You can, there's just a delay. I should clarify that in the question. I didn't know about it when I wrote this up. – Catija Sep 2 at 3:58

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .