On each site in the question lists, the second column from the left gives a visual cue whether the question has been answered (besides the numeric information). For example, on Stack Overflow, red background means no answers, green background means some answers. An additional cue indicates whether there is an accepted answer; for example it's yellow on green on Stack Overflow.

The way the same is done on Server Fault is barely readable.

  • Instead of using the background color of the box, the color is only indicated in the thin dotted border.
  • The "accepted answer" cue is apparently a slightly different shade of green, and a green instead of grey number. This is hardly visible unless you specifically research it.

Together, this makes Server Fault much less usable than the other sites (for certain usage patterns, of course).

2 Answers 2


There are many factors that affect everyone's viewing: screen size, screen resolution, screen quality, eyesight, colourblindness, etc.

The coloured boxes are a bit dainty, but I don't find it hard to differentiate between "no answers" and "some answers".

One of the cardinal rules of UI design is to not use colour as the primary indicator of state. With respect to that, the design is following the guideline because you can see the number of answers as a number, not just by looking at the border colour.

I do agree that "some answers" and "accepted answer" look very similar. However, that may be by-design so users aren't dissuaded from participating in "accepted answer" questions. This aspect fails to follow the UI design guideline (the tooltip on "accepted answer" questions don't count), but at the same time, it isn't essential information about state.

  • I had initially suspected the same as your second point, that people should still participate in already answered questions. But note that on Stack Overflow and Super User the distinction between not answered and answered questions is very much in your face, almost the most noticeable element on the page.
    – Peter Eisentraut
    Commented Jan 13, 2010 at 14:40
  • No argument there. I think I may have mis-stated -- it was probably less a by-design decision and more a by-designer decision. ;)
    – Jon Seigel
    Commented Jan 13, 2010 at 15:25
  • Why doing differently on other sites sur as SU where accepter answer radically change the aspect (heavy green background on the square with white-ish characters) ? It's much more readable there =(
    – mveroone
    Commented Aug 22, 2013 at 13:28

I decided to normalize the background color on SF from #fdfdfd to #fff like the rest of the trilogy.

While I was in there I darkened up the accepted answer color as well. It was #608A0E and is now #3D5509. Quite a bit darker.

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