Long ago, I remember reading either Joel Spolsky's or Jeff Atwood's blog post (can't find it now) about how StackOverflow was founded as a way for people to find answers to questions easily. This was compared to other forums that had long discussions, distracting signature images etc, which cluttered the screen and led to poor user experience.
Until recently, the StackExchange websites have been an impressive demonstration of the clean and user-friendly method of information disbursement and community participation. Everytime I did a Google search for something, the StackExchange websites were my first choice.
Recently however, StackExchange websites have had a few gradual additions that appear to have worsened the user experience. They are:
The information banner for newcomers which takes up a lot of space and forces us to scroll down or click on the close button of the banner.
The large cookie banner which requires one click and a pause and then another click to be dismissed for privacy-conscious users. Moreover, it's shown repeatedly for every tab that's opened, making it even more annoying.
User experience's expressed about StackExchange's cookie banner here, here, here and here. Research about the efficacy of acceptance of such banner's Accept buttons here.
What would be a better way to welcome and inform new users without putting a massive banner that takes up space?
What would be a better way of getting a one-time consent for people, perhaps based on IP address or user login, for the cookies? Perhaps the StackExchange team needs to enable those performance, functional and targeting cookies for whatever reason? Understandable, for monetizing a site (if it is the case). But if it's going to ruin user experience, then that'd just make the site un-appealing, driving traffic away from it (as in my case, I've already started choosing other sites for information when Googling). Surely, the user experience for cookie choices can be made better, and can serve the original purpose of StackExchange being a welcoming, user-experience-friendly place. What design changes would you suggest as a remedy?