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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:

  1. 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.
    enter image description here

  2. 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.
    enter image description here
    enter image description here

About cookie policies, this is what I found out from a source: "Please note that the GDPR does not require the information that must be delivered to a site visitor to be presented in a pop-up. Contact the website administrator if you are not satisfied with their design choices. Please also find the Commission websites cookie policy here. Cookie guidelines for EU institutions".

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?

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    I think your question belongs to big meta – Danielillo May 10 at 14:55
  • Big meta already has questions requesting for better UX. But the matter has not been solved. The purpose of asking the question here is to obtain ideas which the StackExchange team can use. Of course, this means that we first need to know the purpose of what they want to achieve with these banners. Hoping they'd be open to UX designers helping. To me, it looks like a simple business need that just needs some good ideation to be practical and usable. – Nav May 11 at 0:55
  • @Nav. I have to admire your optimism... the SE team doesn't care one bit about our opinions. The best chance you have is to post a suggestion that they was already planning to do, and if you are lucky they might try to make it out that they listened to your suggestions so it looks good for their "community" image. – musefan May 11 at 8:35
  • @Nav I still believing that usability and design improvements suggestions for the site are off topic in UXSE – Danielillo May 11 at 10:34
  • musefan: I agree the SE team hasn't shown much of a response, but I'm pretty sure they care about UX. They just don't seem to have the requisite permissions or ideas to proceed. Danielillo: I've notified them about this question in the comments on big meta: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/359358/… – Nav May 12 at 4:33

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