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Every single time I try to do something like ask a question or view tags here I move toward the place that menu item is on every single other stackexchange site. The exact position differs slightly, but its never drastically different from where you would expect. I don't see why this sight should break that trend, making switching between sites very easy. Making the UI on all the sites similar would help solve the problem of being able to identify a stackexchange site.

(to the designer: sorry for the harsh words, its just easier for me to write that way. You are doing an awesome job on all of the new sites! The designs are perfectly fitting. Just trying to see if anyone else here is of the same opinion about the horizontal vs vertical menu change. :)

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    I know this is subjective, but personally I can live with vertical layout quite well. – che Nov 2 '10 at 10:56
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    +1. Consistency is a good thing! – Reid Nov 2 '10 at 23:00
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    +1 I was confused the first time I logged in. – Stormenet Nov 3 '10 at 8:00
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There is a pretty good reason for this site to change the menu.

By moving the menu to the left, the design allows for an area that can be used for a featured photo. Although it does differ a bit from the other stack exchange sites, I think the benefits to the community are well worth the slight loss of continuity with the other sites.

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    IMHO its a loss in easy usability as well. If that specific space for a photo is worth more cramped menu items that are core to the entire usage of the site, then that's fine. Otherwise I would suggest finding somewhere else to put the photo, or feature several photos as smaller sizes with links to larger versions of them. meta.photo.stackexchange.com/questions/397/… – Gordon Gustafson Nov 2 '10 at 23:00
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    I too think the featured photo is great, but there's no reason it needs to be placed such that the header bar becomes huge and nonstandard w.r.t. other SE sites. Why not put it at the top of the sidebar instead? – Reid Nov 2 '10 at 23:01
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FWIW, I like this design. I don't think it needs to match the design of other SE sites, since this site is unique, and it has its own community. I don't think this site needs to match other SE layouts any more than it needs to match any other site's layout, like cnn.com or gmail.com.

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