13

Some quick notes based on the feedback provided here and in chat:

On the original feedback gathering post Catija left a really relevant link that I failed to put in a more conspicuous location, which coulda helped in managing expectations for this — I'm sorry about that, really! The comments links to this MSE post, in which it's made clear that future site designs are not gonna have the level of detail that sites like Worldbuilding have, but instead more in the lines of the Blender, Travel, or Puzzling sites' designs. Having said that: this design actually probably has way more elements than any of the upcoming site designs will.

It's obvious not everyone will be happy with what we come up with, but given the feedback we gathered in the idea gathering post and the constraints the above puts in place, I feel like our designer did a good job trying to incorporate most of the thoughts y'all put into that post: the design is simple, yes, but its atmosphere feels anime-esque to me. Again, not everyone will be happy, but if there are small tweaks that could make it look better, they're welcome, and we'll try to incorporate 'em into the final design!

And if you have any questions, feel free to ask 'em too :)


Earlier last month, we collected some new ideas for the site design. You suggested that the design be simple, picturesque, and representative of the anime and manga culture.

It's been a long time coming and I’m excited to share what the design team came up with for our community! \o/ You can see it live in the site now (along with updated reputation thresholds), but here are some screenshots too:

Design Concept

Home Page: Full-screen Home Page, desktop

Question Page: Question Page, desktop

Meta Home Page: Meta Home Page, desktop

As it was brought up in the previous meta post, our designer also created a variation of the community logo with the original sources of inspiration in mind.

We know, again, that coming up with a design that represents the Anime & Manga community as a whole is not an easy task, but we hope this design is reflective of the community without focusing on any specific niches.

We hope that you love the design we build in this phase but we expect some minor adjustments may be necessary. So you have have any feedback, please let us know.

  • 14
    It's certainly better than the beta theme, but honestly it doesn't really seem to represent anime. It looks more like a theme for a site about public transportation. Looking through the 2019 site theme ideas thread, I can't see any of those being implemented. I see a flat theme with some clouds and a bus. I guess public transport is important in Japan, but so what? I don't see it as being reflective of the community at all. – forest Apr 30 at 21:41
  • Associated chat thread: chat.stackexchange.com/transcript/message/50118946#50118946 – ahiijny Apr 30 at 23:30
  • 13
    How can I express to you, "I'm not a fan of this design and I wish it had incorporated other elements from other suggestions?" - not unlike what @forest is getting at - in a way which would be constructive and actionable? I've been snake bit today by the feedback loop on Stack Exchange, and I have no real way to rectify this. I want to provide my feedback but I have no idea how to express it in a constructive way to you. Can you help me out? – Makoto May 1 at 1:09
  • What I'm really curious is why green is picked for an anime site? Wouldn't something pink or red be better? – Frosteeze May 1 at 5:45
  • In all honesty, @Makoto, the bit of text you put between quotes, in and of itself, is pretty valid and reasonable feedback. – JNat May 1 at 14:31
  • 9
    I'd have to agree with Makoto as well. Beyond that I feel like the design is a tad blend, and not really representative of A&M, but more obscurely hinting to Japanese culture instead. For the header part of things, I think that adding in some life, or iconography beyond a single bus stop in the top bar could help. Potentially taking inspiration from movies.SE. – Dimitri mx May 1 at 14:55
  • 1
    The references that here are not easily grasped by the average user. Many might not realize this, but the big round thing on the bottom is the nuclear explosion from the Akira movie. Green color is likely a representation of the nuclear fallout emitted by the explosion. The stationary bus here has a front view seat of the impending shockwave. The train stop turned bus stop up top is a clear symbolism of the queue to enter the cycle of reincarnations those bus riders that have yet to meet their fate. (none of this is true or relevant) – кяαzєя May 1 at 15:43
  • 1
    This depiction is highly representative of the chaotic and symbolic nature of anime and manga. You guys need to watch more anime and read more manga to understand to appreciate the hidden aspects of this anime-esque design. It's all there you just have to use your imagination to see it. (none of this is true or relevant) – кяαzєя May 1 at 15:45
  • 5
    Sorry @кяαzєя, I find your response unacceptable. I am too young to have really seen or appreciated Akira, so the reference doesn't do anything for me at all. This is not only why I underscored the difficulty of looking in-universe for references or common themes, but it also brings to light my biggest concern of using a single entity to represent all of Anime. – Makoto May 1 at 16:04
  • The bus should be moved one bus length to the right and placed underneath the text "Blog Facebook Twitter LinkedIn", currently it makes the page longer than necessary. Perhaps a CSS tweak. On a different note, I have some agreement with Makato, using a single entity (a bus / bomb) to represent Anime leaves much to be desired. – Rob May 1 at 16:09
  • 5
    @Makoto the statements I made are completely untrue and unrelated to anything and is intended to satirize the far-reaching claim, intended to sollicit a specific response. A train stop turned into a bus stop and a bus in front of a random backdrop does not resonate "anime" or "manga" to many people. What's representative of anime is not the works themselves but the connection these works have with the people the enjoy them. Without this, it's meaningless shapes and colors without any meaning or context. My thoughts about the design is commensurate to how you feel about my response. – кяαzєя May 1 at 19:29
  • @кяαzєя: Yeah, I'm gonna own that. I've been in a different mental space the last few days so I couldn't even see the biting satire here. My apologies. :) – Makoto May 1 at 19:33

11 Answers 11

14

Can the favicon have an easy to tell difference between meta and main.
Such as make one gray and the other black.

Currently they're the same making it harder to tell at a glance which tab is on which site.

Tabs showing no change in favicon

  • 1
    What does that icon symbolize? I don't recognize it. – forest Apr 30 at 22:13
  • @forest It's the new site logo. – Peilonrayz Apr 30 at 22:16
  • Well yeah. I want to know what it means. Is it just an abstract design? – forest Apr 30 at 22:16
  • 2
    @forest anime.meta.stackexchange.com/a/459 – Peilonrayz Apr 30 at 22:18
  • Oh that's clever! – forest Apr 30 at 22:18
13

Badges It would be nice to use a cherry blossom petal instead of a peach blossom. As the cherry blossom is most synonymous with spring overall, which I assume is the theme by the header.

petals

Petals from right to left: Plum, peach, cherry.

  • 3
    Ah yes, that might make it more obvious. At first, I was thinking, 'what is that shape... A turnip? an onion?... oh, I see, it must be a petal.' [vaguely remembering some meta post suggesting that] – ahiijny May 1 at 4:48
  • 1
    The petal is the same as the one at the center of the logo. :) – Catija May 1 at 13:37
  • 3
    The request is to change it from peach to cherry... in the original concept it was a cherry petal as well. Clovers have four petals. The original design was never intended to reference 4chan. – кяαzєя May 1 at 13:54
  • The original concept had cherry blossoms (see the notches in the center). Both the logo and badges would change to depict a cherry blossom petal (featuring a notch). – doppelgreener May 2 at 10:13
10

Firstly it looks like my suggestion, may have heavily influenced the outcome. Sorry everyone :(

tl;dr:

  • The colour pallet, bus stop and bus are cool.
  • Only having bus and nature as the theme makes this look like a design for Travel.SE.
  • Having a hyper-realistic clouds, flat design and a travel theme knocks the anime aspects down a couple of pegs.

    Whilst these by-themselves in an anime theme would work, having the entire theme be somewhat tangentially related makes it look like it's not an anime theme.

  • The clouds look like CGI not anime.

Something similar has been said in chat. [1]


Pros:

  • Despite what some others say, I really like the the bus stop. (I may be biased) And some people have said it has a Monogatari feel.[1] [2]

    IMO, except a little contrast issue, it perfectly fits my second design.

  • I think the lime/green background is quite nice, and reminds me of this suggestion.

    IMO it'd be cool if there were chunks/segments in the gradient, like the linked image. However it doesn't look like you can do that with radial-gradient. :(

Neutral:

  • I think having a bus and a bus stop is pretty cool. However, if the bus wasn't there I wouldn't mind. I also don't get a 'that's cool' vibe from it alone.

    However, given that the core of our theme seems to be a bus driving into the sunset, it seems more like a theme that is intended for Travel.SE, or more specifically 'Bus Travel.SE'.

Cons:

  • This is related to a previous answer, they're too blurry. To me they look like clouds that were designed to be a quarter, or smaller, than the size they're meant to be and so were blown up and had the blur turned to 80% to remove the pixelated edges.

    I also don't like how they look 'hyper-realistic'. This may be because inspiration was taken from these pictures: 1, 2 or 3.

    I like the style of cloud shown in 1 and 2 the most. However whilst I don't like the artistic styling as much, I think the clouds in 1, 2, 3 and 4 also exhibit an anime style.

  • The sun at the bottom of the screen does nothing for me.

    • It kinda explains why there's a gradient from green to lime in the center of the page.
    • To me a sunset is orange and red, and so makes me question the colour pallet.
      I don't think an orange/red colour pallet would look nice for a background.

    • Is this an obscure reference to the flag of Japan?

    • Since the sun and the bus are in the same image I can't see what it would look like without the sun, so can't say if it makes the bottom of the page not look barren. (Which would turn this into a neutral/pro)

What do I think would fix this?

  1. Animeify the clouds.
    They're going to be seen by 100% of people that visit the site, are part of the first thing most people will see and are the largest, size wise, part of the design.

    If they don't scream anime, then the first impression won't be that this is an anime site.

  2. Add some people.

    They more often use a X amount of characters across the page to visualise it
    - Dimitri mx in chat

    Whilst this was suggested in this answer, there seems to be a lot of conflict over this idea.

    1. It seems like people want to have the characters based on ones they like from animes. And so could lead to licensing issues.
    2. People want diversity.

      I have a bit of a problem with this argument, as there's only a finite amount of characters we can have, but an infinite variate of characters. So some are going to be missed.


    Overall to me it seems making at least two generic anime characters would fix this.

    From here you can do cool stuff like have them waiting in the bus-stop, and then have them in the bus.

    If resources were infinite you could also do:

    Maybe a girl chasing the bus with toast in her mouth. :P
    - forest in chat

  • 1
    I hope this doesn't come across as bashy, and follows this. I may not of "Analyze the root problem" enough, so if you think I've not explained my POV well enough please comment :) If you disagree and won't change your mind DV me to hell ;P – Peilonrayz May 2 at 1:55
  • It doesn't come across as bashy, no — thanks for taking the time and effort into reading that post and writing this one. I've made some edits to formatting, though ;) – JNat May 2 at 14:19
  • 2
    I like this answer a lot. It clearly points out some of the flaws, and how to fix it. And it translates the feelings of the community pretty well. At least that's the feeling i'm getting from it :) – Dimitri mx May 3 at 7:57
  • @JNat It's great that you don't think it's bashy. Thank you for the edit, and more specifically toning down my first sentence :) – Peilonrayz May 4 at 5:05
9

Can the body background-image have less blur. To me it makes the entire page look like one big blur, making the content harder to read.

  • I agree, it does look too blurry. I'd prefer something more sharp, because that gives me reassurance that my internet bandwidth hasn't slowed to a trickle or something like that. In comparison, Worldbuilding SE's side image looks nice and sharp. – ahiijny May 1 at 1:17
9

For me, the lack of a distinct edge here bothers me. It feels like the questions pane is bleeding into the background, and it's making me want to squint for some reason.

screenshot of front page with indistinct white edge between questions pane and background

  • 1
    I changed main to this and found it to fix the blur problems in one of my answers. It should be noted meta needs the right border set to black too, but not the left one. – Peilonrayz May 1 at 1:47
7

The meta body background image doesn't support ultra-wide screen resolutions, where main does.

Screenshot of main

Screenshot of meta

7

One small detail that I do appreciate: The bus at the bottom of the page is going in the right direction! Good.

Because in Japan, vehicles drive on the left side of the road.

the bus is going left and the doors are visible

  • 3
    Would is be possible to put people in this world do it doesn't look so barren? Even stick figure lining up for the bus or waiting at the bus stop would suffice. – кяαzєя May 1 at 4:34
  • 1
    @кяαzєя definitely not stick people. But perhaps some person colour blobs here could be nice. – ahiijny May 1 at 4:39
  • 2
    The alternative (no people at all) kind of gives off that barren dead of night sort of atmosphere... – ahiijny May 1 at 4:41
  • why spoiler block O.o – Ankit Sharma May 20 at 14:30
  • @Ankit Sharma because it's a puzzle! (idk it was late and I was sleep-deprived when I made that edit :P) – ahiijny May 20 at 20:05
3

I confess - I have failed you.

No matter how many times I tried to come to this post and actually put together some reasonably scoped (i.e. "tweakable") criticism about this theme, my tendency to conflate this with some existing Stack Exchange-level communication breakdown keeps getting in the way.

So, I'll repeat what I said in the comment I left on this post and hope that this actually keeps me on the straight-and-narrow. No promises though; I'm not on a tightrope.

I'm not a fan of this design and I wish it had incorporated other elements from other suggestions.

By that, I mean:

  • Something recognizable about Anime or Manga should be in the theme. In my mind, a Japanese bus stop and a Japanese bus are more artifacts of the culture. Left-side drive nations have buses which can look similar to this, so I don't find this to be particularly striking.
  • The color scheme is unique and calming, but...there's nothing to tie it together to anything specific to either Anime or Manga. Maybe the color was meant to evoke a reference to matcha, but that's a Japanese culture thing, and not an anime/manga culture thing.
  • I'm not left with a sense of wonder. I'm left with a sense of bewilderment. To try to mitigate my unconscious and conscious biases, I showed the site to a few friends of mine whom I trust with UI/UX opinions, and they didn't really see the "anime" in it. Admittedly they have their own biases about anime in general which I won't repeat here, but the consensus was fairly universal - didn't seem like enough.

...but none of that can be taken back to a designer to "fix", because the end result is "change it", which isn't the kind of feedback I wanted to give, nor is the kind of feedback that gets attention. It's basically me just saying, "I don't really like it and I want it all changed," which is hardly a good way to get constructive criticism going here.

But in an effort to remain as optimistic as I normally am once was, I decided to look around at prior art to regain some positivity and look at this from a different perspective. I wanted to see what the feedback loop has been in the past for sites who have changed who weren't the larger, more prominently themed sites.

...

I'm making a conscious observation about the feedback loop we've got going on here. Just referencing the Meta post that was meant to be more obvious, the two main sites mentioned who stated that there was some kind of deficiency in their layout have had radio silence on their feedback, even if it's been prominently stated or displayed as something that's looked at or into.

DBA.se hasn't had an official response to it since it was created.

SciFi.se received one comment on one answer in regards to constructive criticism towards a suggestion for improvement. Beyond that...nothing really concrete in the lines of what I would want to see as "progress" since it was created.

There's also a discrepancy here. At least it seems that SciFi had a chance to trial the theme out before it went live. Had we had the chance to do that there, I think there wouldn't be quite as much angst with it. Kinda feels like this is what we're getting and we can tweak it slightly from here, and the team is then "off to the next one".

To hammer home the point of the reason why this matters at all:

This site is tiny. A theming change will either entice or repel people from our community. An unsuitable theme won't entice anyone to stay around.

We want to be putting the best foot forward, and I don't think we are right now.

But again, I've failed to put this in terms which I feel like are actionable. Sorry.

  • 1
    In response to your criticisms of the design. I think the bus + stop can be fixed by adding anime characters. I don't think there's such a thing as an 'anime colour scheme', as anything can use the same colour scheme and make it 'not anime'. – Peilonrayz May 5 at 15:30
  • @Peilonrayz: What characters would be suitable? I believe this to be rhetorical since I'm not convinced that there could be enough representation from the diversity in the genres. Additionally, my remark on the color wasn't that it was "bad" - it's calming, which is a positive thing - but the color by itself isn't tied to any central theme of anime or manga. Perhaps if it were the same shade as a manga itself, that'd probably be okay. Kind of wish I could go back in time to scope my response accordingly. – Makoto May 5 at 15:33
  • I have said which characters in my answer. Yes I understand you, but I don't think there exists a colour scheme which is undeniably a "central theme of anime or manga". If you look at my answer you'll see that I have said that it looks like one of the supplied anime image's colour scheme. – Peilonrayz May 5 at 15:39
  • 1
    At least it seems that SciFi had a chance to trial the theme out before it went live. The process of switching to the unified theming was what made the alpha test of the theme possible. Since all sites are using that already, the tool we had to allow them to test wasn't available for this (or any future) site. It was in our original discussion plans to use this method but we didn't because we can't. I'm sorry. There is absolutely a plan to adjust as needed but that won't include completely going back to the drawing board and starting over. – Catija May 5 at 23:44
  • 1
    As to the other two sites you talk about, I had pretty extensive discussions in chat - yes, I know, they're probably difficult to resurface - with both of these sites as part of helping to guide them in reworking their designs. I've not responded since because... well... I went on maternity leave, Joe got a job offer he couldn't refuse and then we've been in a holding pattern before we can start actually working on them. They are in a queue, there's just been a lot of... stuff in the way. With DAG back on track with their new PM, things like this are starting to move forward. – Catija May 5 at 23:45
  • 1
    @Catija: At least now I know what happened (and I think I knew about your maternity leave around the time you started - some threads on Meta Stack Exchange), but this at least highlights the point about communication. Life and circumstances happen, but keeping us in the dark about progress or what's going on isn't exactly conducive to a thriving community. – Makoto May 6 at 17:40
  • 2
    No arguments from me... and... I mean, I was itching enough to come back and work on stuff that I was part time after just a month away... but by then Joe left and we were in a holding pattern... but we also have to be respectful of people's private lives and allowing them to be private. I've also had interim discussions with some of the SFF users to let them know that stuff is on hold, so it's not without any interaction, just... nothing on those particular meta posts. I mean, the DBA post exists because I told them to create it and I commented on the top answer there. :) I'm trying. – Catija May 6 at 18:18
  • Going to the drawing board probably is the answer. Someone drawing at an easel is more anime than the bomb and bus. – Rob May 7 at 15:34
  • 1
    @Catija: So...um...what's next? – Makoto May 19 at 19:28
  • 2
    Not sure at this point. We're discussing this coming week. – Catija May 19 at 20:24
  • 1
    @Catija: Alright, keep us in the loop... – Makoto May 19 at 20:25
3

I got bored of waiting for some of the easier changes.

To enable disabled ones delete the space between this * / on the ones you want to enable.

/* Bus stop * /

To

/* Bus stop */

To disable others do the inverse, add a space there.

Tested on FF 67.0 + Tamper Monkey.

// ==UserScript==
// @name     A&M changes
// @grant    GM_addStyle
// @run-at   document-startc
// @include /^https:\/\/anime.stackexchange.com\//
// @include /^https:\/\/anime.meta.stackexchange.com\//
// ==/UserScript==

let url = window.location.href;

if (url.match(/^https:\/\/anime.stackexchange.com\//)) {
  GM_addStyle(`
    /* https://anime.meta.stackexchange.com/a/4254 */
    /**/
    .site-header--link img {
      clip-path: polygon(
        0% 0%,
        0% 100%,
        calc(26.864 / 353 * 100%) 100%,
        calc(26.864 / 353 * 100%) calc(26.552 / 60 * 100%),
        calc(32.825 / 353 * 100%) calc(26.552 / 60 * 100%),
        calc(32.825 / 353 * 100%) calc(32.519 / 60 * 100%),
        calc(26.864 / 353 * 100%) calc(32.519 / 60 * 100%),
        calc(26.864 / 353 * 100%) 100%,
        100% 100%,
        100% 0%
      );
    }
    /**/
  `);
} else {
  GM_addStyle(`
    /* https://anime.meta.stackexchange.com/a/4248 */
    body {
      background-size: 2880px 1008px;
    }
    /**/

    /* https://anime.meta.stackexchange.com/a/4254 */
    /**/
    .site-header--link img {
      clip-path: polygon(
        0% 0%,
        0% 100%,
        calc(26.864 / 389 * 100%) 100%,
        calc(26.864 / 389 * 100%) calc(26.552 / 60 * 100%),
        calc(32.825 / 389 * 100%) calc(26.552 / 60 * 100%),
        calc(32.825 / 389 * 100%) calc(32.519 / 60 * 100%),
        calc(26.864 / 389 * 100%) calc(32.519 / 60 * 100%),
        calc(26.864 / 389 * 100%) 100%,
        100% 100%,
        100% 0%
      );
    }
    /**/
  `);
}

GM_addStyle(`
  /* https://anime.meta.stackexchange.com/a/4250 */
  #content {
    border-left-width: 1px;
    border-right-width: 1px;
  }
  /**/

  /* https://anime.meta.stackexchange.com/a/4254 */
  .badge1, .badge2, .badge3 {
    clip-path: polygon(30% 0, 100% 0, 100% 100%, 0 100%, 0 30%, 35% 35%);
  }
  /**/

  /* https://anime.meta.stackexchange.com/a/4255 */
  /* bus stop * /
  .site-header--container {
    background-image: unset!important;
  }
  /**/

  /* bus and sun * /
  .site-footer {
    background-image: unset;
  }
  /**/
`);

2

Remove the bus shelter at the top and the bus at the bottom. While it's apparently too late to come up with a design that would actually represent anime and manga, removing these elements would be a significant improvement. As it stands, the current design can only confuse the visitors as to the purpose of the site.

I can't say I've watched a huge amount of anime, but I like to think I've watched a broad range of it. From the 70's to the present, across various genres and target audiences, I don't see this "public transportation" theme representative of the anime I've seen or heard of, either broadly or narrowly. A generic transit bus that could be seen anywhere in a the world. A bus shelter that maybe kinda looks like a broken tori gate if you squint your eyes but wouldn't look out place in North America or Europe. Even limiting yourself to public transportation you can find better things to represent Japan, if not anime and manga.

As a result, I can't see why anyone would think these bus elements represent anime and/or manga. It doesn't help that you just simply asserted that the design "feels anime-esque" to you, without explaining why. Absent any reason to believe otherwise, I think these elements would only suggest something different to people visiting the site and so should be removed to prevent confusion. While the resulting, simpler, design wouldn't be any more anime-esque than it is now, it a least won't be giving the impression the site is supposed to be about public transportation.

  • I meant the atmosphere feels anime-esque. Not the bus or the stop in and of themselves. Also not suggesting "public transportation" equates anime either. – JNat May 1 at 21:53
  • Conversely, I don't think there's anything necessarily wrong with choosing sky/clouds/bus/train stop as a theme (things that immediately came to mind were: the train scene in Spirited Away, the bus scene in Madoka Magica: Rebellion, the first chapter of Mieruko-chan, Yukko...) I think it could work, it just needs more tweaks so that it looks more "obviously anime/manga" rather than "generic public transportation". – ahiijny May 1 at 22:36
  • I agree with your assessment, but disagree with your solution. I think it is possible to make the community like and want the bus stop and bus. If you want you can run the following to get the result you want. [$('.site-header--container'),$('.site-footer')].map(i => i.css({'background-image': 'unset'})); – Peilonrayz May 4 at 6:12
1

Note: Based off this Code Golf answer.

Could you change the error and 404 text to be inline with the sites colour scheme.
The blue, IMO, looks out of place.

  • Was prolly just overlooked; will pass it along ;) – JNat Jun 28 at 11:49
  • 1
    Whoa, that's actually...the least you can and should do! In fact the custom error/404/captcha pages were one of the few things that survived the untheming process on sites with an existing design. It'd be unfortunate if new designs would entirely lack them, given that they're one of the few customizable things left. – Chris says Reinstate Monica Jul 2 at 16:32
  • Why generic 404 and not something animeish @JNat – Ankit Sharma Jul 3 at 11:39
  • @AnkitSharma Because now it's on SE Inc's radar and they can do that if they want to. I'm not going to ask for it to be anime related because that's almost definitely not going to happen. – Peilonrayz Jul 3 at 11:56

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