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Overall impressions:

  1. While I'm not 100% sold, I think it has potential and I am optimistic.
  2. There are a lot of rough edges. I'll give a few examples below. I wonder if the comment period before going live (one day?) was too short.

Some specific notes off the top of my head:

  • The top bar is way too big.
    • The "photo of the week" is a huge win, but I think putting it in the top bar is the wrong place. Could it go on the side bar (above the tags?)
    • IMO, don't print titles for these photos, or a least make them smaller. I personally have zero interest in photo titles: what I want for this space is (a) the photo, (b) who took it, and (c) how I submit mine.
  • Something happened to the fonts; they're harder to read than before.
  • The meta site is not working. In particular, the tools above this edit box and the white bar at the top are essentially illegible. In general, the contrast is too low. IMO, the inversion should be dropped; no top bar photo plus some minor color would be sufficiently differentiating.
  • The new tags (text in brackets) are much clunkier than before.

Anyway, bottom line is I think that it will end up very nice, but for the time being it looks unpolished. And I emphasize that it is awesome we have a designer now; I've built websites and bringing in a graphic designer is a huge value-add. So thanks!

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Reid,

Thank you for your input. All the Stackexchange sites use the latest HTML from Stackoverflow.com so I don't have a lot of control over major layout tweak per site. That's why I put the photo in the header.

I think it works because the vibrant photo on top provides a good balance to the clean design of the rest of the site. It also immediately gives new visitor the idea that this is a community based site. While the header is tall, I don't think it matters too much for a creative site. Many design/art/photography sites I visit have fat headers, fatter if they have banner Ads. This isn't a typical design decision I make for other SE sites, but I do think it works for a site for photographers.

I can make the title text smaller for the photo caption.

Regarding font hard to read, can you explain? It may have something to do with the parent site's background is a light gray instead of white. I didn't want to use a pure white because the dark text would look very harsh. The Beta theme had white background but with faint grid lines to ease the contrast.

As for the contrast/color issues on Meta, I'm still fixing some CSS. You will see improvements soon.

As for tag styling and fonts, I think it may be a matter of getting used to a quite different design from Beta. If you were a frequent Beta user, this design is a big departure from the old theme. I think it may take some time to used to it. I'd like to hear your thoughts on the header height a week from now. Again, I appreciate your honest opinions.

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@Jin, glad it's appreciated - I do intend (and hope to be) constructive.

  • w.r.t the fonts, I don't know why they're harder to read, they just are; use your designer hat here. :) I can provide a screenshot of the old design if needed.
  • re. the banner:
    • "It also immediately gives new visitor the idea that this is a community based site." - this is true, but it has nothing to do with where the photo goes.
    • "While the header is tall, I don't think it matters too much for a creative site." - why? photo.SE is focusing on information transfer just like any other SE site. Just because it concerns a creative subject does not mean it shouldn't support the same things any other SE site should.
    • "Many design/art/photography sites I visit have fat headers, fatter if they have banner Ads." - just because others do it doesn't mean it's necessarily a good decision. Not that other sites shouldn't be used for ideas, but SE is different from other sites in many other ways. Design decisions should be justified independently.
    • "This isn't a typical design decision I make for other SE sites, but I do think it works for a site for photographers." - as a photographer who uses this site regularly, I don't think it works.
  • re. getting used to it: sure, that's a good point. I will be happy to report back. However, just because someone gets used to a new design does not mean the new design is better.

Again, thanks for your hard work on this.

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I agree, the top bar is way too big. At least give us an option to turn it on or off.

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