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My name is Kurtis and I'm a designer with Stack Exchange. You may have noticed some updates to the design of your site. The updates are part of a SE network-wide update to a new base css framework. The updates allow us to:

  • Use .svg sprites for retina displays
  • Fix global layout bugs
  • More easily add new features to all of our sites in the future

If you see any bugs please let us know.

Thanks!

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    Thanks Kurtis! Feels really fresh and clean. Love the SVG icons and logo! – Rahul Feb 24 '15 at 23:27
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    Yes - feels good. Immediately noticeable that something had changed but not so much that it was clear exactly what had changed. Seems easier on the eye. Seemingly more whitespace, less competing for attention, less contrast (saturation) between elements. Fewer angles maybe. I'll look around later but is there an article giving more tech details of the changes - i.e. what actually changed - you know, for the idly curious :) – Roger Attrill Feb 25 '15 at 7:41
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    Nice job Kurtis. It definitely has a cleaner look to it :) – Vince Caregnato Feb 25 '15 at 9:41
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    I'm not sure if it's a bug related to this design, but I raised this report on the meta site about the same time as this design change happened : meta.stackexchange.com/questions/250413/… – JonW Mar 7 '15 at 10:31
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Overall I think it's an improvement, so well done.

However, the font seems to be thinner and harder to read now - I'm referencing it on a Retina display, which is usually better font wise, so I'm assuming it's even harder on 'standard' displays.

As this is a UX site, could you please go into some of the reasoning and hopefully testing that led to the decision to change the font, as well as any other aspects of the design that you can share with us?

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    I'm guessing that you're on a Mac? Can you refresh your browser and see if the fonts are any better for you now? Actually we're still testing and working out a few bugs as we go—that's one of the reasons for the conversion, so that we can administer changes to network sites on a global level. That's also a reason that we're slowly rolling these changes out to each community to gain feedback. We've tested a lot of the layout changes with groups of meta users, but not font-rendering—which is likely the culprit of why some folks using webkit browsers on a mac are seeing thinner fonts. – Kurtis Beavers Feb 25 '15 at 18:02
  • I'm on a Mac as well, the fonts look a bit better now on retina screen. It still seems too thin on non-retina. Small text's rather mushy. Here's a screenshot if it helps. i.stack.imgur.com/Iq4Ry.png – nightning Feb 25 '15 at 18:20
  • @KurtisBeavers I've refreshed my browser, and the fonts essentially look the same still. The normal question and answer text is good, it's just the small text that is "rather mushy" as nightning put it. It's hard to put my finger on it as I never bothered recording what the old fonts were, but it just seems more compact and hence not as easy to read as before. I have good vision, but for anyone with even slightly impaired vision, compact small fonts present a major reading hurdle. – JohnGB Feb 25 '15 at 18:54
  • The vast majority of font sizes and weights didn't change from the previous version of the site. The actual font used is the same. There are a few things in the right-hand sidebar that may be a pixel smaller, but there are also a few places where fonts are a pixel larger, and this was done to normalize minor differences between network sites and increase contrast in size to further establish hierarchy of information. The only big change was font smoothing, which we just changed back from antialiased to the default subpixel-antialiased. That should only impact folks on a Mac. – Kurtis Beavers Feb 25 '15 at 19:05
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    @KurtisBeavers That would explain why it's the mac users that are piping up. – JohnGB Feb 25 '15 at 20:33
  • They type weight on the main page looked far better and more balanced before. I'm on Windows 7 and 8. – Matt Rockwell Feb 26 '15 at 16:20
  • I found the difference. Pulled up a snapshot of the previous version: web.archive.org/web/20150101043933/https://ux.stackexchange.com It seems like the old style has a different font stack for the counts. It's "Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif" and not "Helvetica Neue, Arial,sans-serif" – nightning Feb 26 '15 at 17:21
  • @nightning It's not that that's affecting it for most Windows users. The major difference is now the question titles are rendered in 18px instead of 17px. – Matt Rockwell Feb 26 '15 at 18:22
  • @MattRockwell I'm a bit at a lost as to how a larger and "standard" 18px font size will look less balanced than the odd 17px font size. But I'll take your word for it. – nightning Feb 26 '15 at 22:31

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