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I liked the math stack exchange design:
Math StackExchange Image
and think we can do something similar but different. I like how they keep the background clutter off of the questions and answers to improve readability. Thinking about something similar to graph paper (in terms of colors and easy on the eyes) but that is present in a lot of areas of physics, both experimental and theoretical, I came upon the idea of wave interference. So here's my contribution for a physics only design background (just a quick mock-up, not intended to be final in any way):
WaveInterference

By the way, I joined the math stack exchange a few minutes ago and now I'm experiencing envy. They get a lot more traffic. Things get voted up much more quickly. I wonder if that will last; surely people are more interested in the physical world than in a bunch of dusty dry theorems.

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  • $\begingroup$ Another graph similar option with a physics flair is something from gravitation, but somehow I'd like to avoid 3-d kinds of effects. $\endgroup$ – Carl Brannen Mar 21 '11 at 18:35
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    $\begingroup$ I wonder if the level of traffic is related to the type of people who sit in front of computers at work. A lot of physicists don't. $\endgroup$ – Andrew Mar 21 '11 at 21:51
  • $\begingroup$ I think it's basically the number of people employed in the field. $\endgroup$ – Carl Brannen Mar 21 '11 at 22:20
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    $\begingroup$ For what it's worth, math.SE is significantly older than we are, plus they also had a fair amount of crossover from Math Overflow. $\endgroup$ – David Z Mar 22 '11 at 3:51
  • $\begingroup$ @Andrew: the Physicists i know (which include a mix of theoreticians, experimentalists and phenomenologists) spend most of their time in front of the computers. I know i do it myself... so, i'm not sure of how much the "computer-time" is a factor... :-/ $\endgroup$ – Daniel Mar 22 '11 at 18:32
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Sorry but I don't like your idea at all. All of these fancy schmunzy effects will start to bug you (after few days at most) and we'll be back where we were with black design. Moreover, I don't like this one even for just looking (which I did with black design).

Once again, I have to repeat my sentiment of wanting to have plain white site with as simple design as possible and subtle use of colors. math.SE isn't that bad but I certainly don't envy them. For one thing they could also benefit from getting rid of that cartesian chart.

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  • $\begingroup$ I would also prefer a plain white design. We have a graph paper background that I'm comfortable with; I wouldn't want a design that's more visible than that. $\endgroup$ – Carl Brannen Mar 22 '11 at 20:50
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I like it. But since taste is subjective, I still hope that Allow individual SE theming settings will get accepted. Until then, those who don't like the current design can have a look here for some inspiration how to manipulate this to one's individual pleasing.

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I see your point, but while the math.stackexchange design is subtle, it hurts my eyes a little. If we are to go with graph paper, I like the stats site better. Still subtle, but the touch of color makes it a bit easier to read.

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