"Being a designer, I like buttons. I love images. And I hate text."
The primary point of Stack Overflow is to help developers overcome challenges that they're having with their code, so naturally, most questions and their answers are going to include a lot of code, and therefore, text. The same text-heavy scenario applies to many of the other StackExchange sites: http://stackexchange.com/sites
"Being a designer" doesn't mean you unilaterally prefer images and buttons over text. It means you choose the right tool for the job.
Ok that came out wrong. I love text, or type to be more accurate. I also love code, What I dislike is poorly designed text, especially when there's lots of it. I also dislike unnecessary text.
What I meant was, because SO's type design is not great, it feels like there's lots of unnecessary text all over the place. If SO improved their use of line height, font family, font sizing, contrast etc. it would really help to clean up the interface and make their text more desirable to read.
Also, if they used more icons, there would be less need for some unnecessary text in some places.
I like it. I would have to analyze it a bit more to see if there were some big UX problems that this solves, other than appearance. It's visually striking, but like all demo redesigns, there's no way to know if they've tested layouts and some of your changes would decrease conversion of certain things, the biggest question mark being the "votes / answers / views" on the left. That seems like it could be the most important piece of info the visitor looks for. How it is now, you can scan down that left column and see each thread stacked up against another. Those lead right to the title to the right.
How the mockup shows it, they're basically in the opposite position. I see the time posted, then over to the title, back down to the tags, and then to the votes/views/answers. The Z shaped pattern of eye movement might be the exact opposite of what they want and what converts to clicks on the headlines.
I mean, I'm assuming things just as much as anyone else, and we'll never know if there's important conversion and UX decisions we aren't privy too. But it looks great, I wish we could see some user tests with it.
Oh, I didn't know anyone looked at the question feed :p
I'm glad you like it mate. I share your concerns about how it would impact on UX. It's almost pointless to try to improve UX without access to user flow data or at least access to basic analytics. I'm sure if I sat down to have a serious look at improving the site I would do lots of things differently.
I was merely trying to clean the interface up a bit and make it easier to look at and scan. I think SO is pretty bad when it comes to visual design principles like color, contrast, whitespace, balance etc.
Maybe I'll make a Chrome Extension so people can try it out.