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If StackExchange were to remove the views and votes counters from their lists of questions (homepage, active, newest, etc) as a trade-off for a cleaner design would this bother you?

Those items would still exist on the question page. It would only be removed from the lists of questions.

Are those items useful to you in the lists of questions? Would you miss them?

It's a question about StackExchange but it's actually to help with something I'm developing.

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Completely essential. There are too many questions to even read and process every title. I want to find questions with either no activity (I can help) or a lot of activity (I might be able to learn something from it) – NickC Dec 15 '11 at 18:48
@Renesis, you should add that as an answer. Because it is a good one! – Karen Dec 15 '11 at 19:40
"Graphic designers, left unchecked and unschooled, are likely to aim for maximum visual simplicity at the expense of both learnability and usability." - Bruce Tognazzini – Patrick McElhaney Dec 15 '11 at 20:48
I was annoyed when that information disappeared from my user profile in the recent redesign. Changing this in the list of all questions would be a major step backwards in usability. – Monica Cellio Dec 15 '11 at 21:53

The views and votes shown on the index of questions here are important meta-information that allows users to decided if they want to click through on something. Since the index is dense with links, it's helpful to know this information.

Yelp does something similar by showing the reputation of people who wrote the reviews of a site. This is how users can decide which reviews to even read when there are dozens or even hundreds for a website. It also helps in deciding who to believe.

And Amazon does it with the percentage rate of "was this review helpful."

If you are presenting an index of seemingly equal things that are actually not equal to the user, it's helpful to give them enough clues to differentiate, without adding too much noise. And if you're trying to decided between signal and noise, ask yourself which users you want to facilitate, what are their needs, and what will help them the most.

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