As you probably noticed, there is a new top bar implemented on this site. This is part of a network-wide experiment in... UI design I guess? Details on

The new top bar is out on meta. Consider it a beta

I'm not complaining about or complimenting the way the features are implemented (not here, anyway - you can always check out Mother Meta), but I request that the color scheme be changed. The current off-black clashes quite harshly with our light-blues-on-white scheme. It looks like some sinister cloud, ever reminding us of our network overlords' presence.

The current color may work well on certain sites, but certainly not all. This is not surprising, because no one color scheme could possibly work on dozens of individual sites with their own customized appearance.

By the way, we're not the only site that seems to have a clash. Just check out Christianity, Mathematica, Mathematics, Mi Yodeya, Programmers, and TeX, for example. (As I'm not a particularly active member of any other site, I'm not formally requesting those sites be changed, which is why I'm not asking on Mother Meta. Also, there is at least one such global request: Would it be possible to lighten the color of the new top bar?)

So can we get something that fits our color scheme, please? And no, saying I should userscript it is not a valid answer - I'm considering how the site looks to everyone else too.

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    $\begingroup$ Not experiment; it's supposed to be the almost-finished product. I support the color change, though I would wait a few days first, and let the new design sink in to check whether or not it's just a result of me being used to the old white topbar. $\endgroup$ Dec 4, 2013 at 23:22
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    $\begingroup$ When viewing a question on meta (not so much on main), the panelling of grays looks really bad $\endgroup$ Dec 4, 2013 at 23:28
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    $\begingroup$ The off-blackness of it is especially ugly for those of us whose avatar has a black background. $\endgroup$ Dec 4, 2013 at 23:41
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    $\begingroup$ I feel like I could get used to it, although I also think a lighter color would fit better with our site's theme. Then again, maybe the point is for it to look different. Anyway I think it's worth us taking some time to try to get used to the new bar. $\endgroup$
    – David Z
    Dec 4, 2013 at 23:59
  • $\begingroup$ The accompanying blog post makes me fear the SE team won't be very willing to change the colour. They say, for example, that they "wanted to make sure that it would look the same across all sites". I'll give it a couple of days like they asked, but for now I really don't like how it completely jarrs with everything else in the site design. $\endgroup$ Dec 5, 2013 at 0:22
  • $\begingroup$ I agree, Chris. The colour scheme looks horrible, the contrast with the rest of the page is much too strong. Also, the inbox icon doesn't seem to light up when you get a new message - for example, I didn't notice that Brandon had replied to me in chat. $\endgroup$
    – Pulsar
    Dec 5, 2013 at 1:38
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    $\begingroup$ I like the features of the new top bar, but I totally agree that the colour scheme is too intrusive for light-coloured sites. I think they could achieve the aims stated in that blog post by customising the top bar's colour scheme for individual sites, but making the Stack Exchange logo itself bigger and more prominent. $\endgroup$
    – N. Virgo
    Dec 5, 2013 at 2:59
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    $\begingroup$ The blue/cyan of the Stack Exchange logo clashes horribly with the greenish blue of the main Physics.SE site as well. $\endgroup$
    – N. Virgo
    Dec 5, 2013 at 3:00
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    $\begingroup$ Well, in many cultures a black band means one is in mourning. What are we mourning? And what was wrong with white and black insets? Much better for my laptop screen, now I have to get the angle exactly right to see properly. $\endgroup$
    – anna v
    Dec 5, 2013 at 8:42
  • $\begingroup$ Why Should I Care What Color the Bikeshed Is? $\endgroup$
    – Nikolaj-K
    Dec 5, 2013 at 13:14
  • $\begingroup$ I don't like the top bar, but the colour is nice. $\endgroup$ Dec 5, 2013 at 14:15
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    $\begingroup$ The black color looks almost like a glitch to me. I have the feeling that there is black text in the top bar next to the inbox that I can't see, and I get the urge to select that text to highlight it. Its very annoying. $\endgroup$
    – jdm
    Dec 5, 2013 at 15:17
  • $\begingroup$ I think the black even looks bad on stackoverflow... $\endgroup$
    – Kyle Kanos
    Dec 5, 2013 at 16:42

3 Answers 3


I was going to rail about this when it came out, but I decided to give it a few more days like the team asked. Well, it's been a few days, and

I still don't like it.

  • I don't like the black bar being black. One of the reasons I use chrome is that it respects the very valuable real estate at the top of the browser window. It packs the maximum of information into just three bars. The black bar increases this space, which I like to be as minimal as possible, by a whopping 30%.

    enter image description here

  • I don't like the bright blue logo at all. Why have colours in there in the first place? They're bound to clash with some site design, no matter what you choose. Why not have it the same shade of grey as the inbox sign? As it is, it clashes horribly with the greenish turquoise of our main site. In meta it's even worse, and on a question page it has far and away the biggest chroma of the whole page. If you must keep it, why not damp it down to grey?

Some credit to the UI designers:

I like it now. It took a bit of a while to sink in but I think pretty much everyone has gotten used to it.

  • $\begingroup$ Don't ask why I'm suddenly on this page, but you've managed increased your rep by slightly less than 10x in slightly less than 10 years. Coincidentally, my rep has also increased at this same rate (2.5k in Dec 2013 vs 26.7k now). I wonder if there is something to that 🤔 . $\endgroup$
    – Kyle Kanos
    Jul 11 at 17:48

At least one other site now has a customised top bar: the one at Science Fiction and Fantasy has been made slightly translucent in order to make it fit better with their site. Obviously translucency wouldn't be appropriate in our case, but a similarly subtle change in colour scheme would make it a lot less visually jarring.

Edit: Ask Ubuntu also has a customised bar. It's the same colour scheme as our one, but has been moved to fit into the layout in a different way. (It still looks like a compromise.)

Since there is now precedent on two other sites for customising the top bar, I hope the request to do so on ours will be genuinely considered.


I suspect you'll all get used to this eventually - it's a pretty big change, but realistically I find the top bar isn't usually visible while I'm reading or answering questions.

That said...

If y'all had kept the original design this bar would've matched up perfectly... ;-)

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    $\begingroup$ Maybe people had not kept that design for similar reasons that they don't like the black top bar! $\endgroup$
    – Mostafa
    Dec 9, 2013 at 21:09

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