I received an email notification from Andy Salo, SolarWinds, Director, Product Marketing (included below), which I assume everyone else did, as well. This email stated they will be removing the "Lean and Green" theme from Thwack, which I am neither excited about nor pleased with the alternative option (of the 'dark' theme). This made me curious how many people use each of these themes, hence the poll.
I absolutely do not want to view a dark website, it's hard on my eyes and will give me a headache. It's already a challenge to convince my management that I "need" to read a public message board for formal support purposes of an enteprise product we own, and that the community resource is called, "Thwack". It's one thing to access "Barracuda Central". It's another thing to deal with the perception of "Goofing off on the Internet", when the site has a less than professional (sounding) name, let alone if it isn't cosmetically neutral. This is why I like the Lean and Green theme - it doesn't look like some rogue "hacker/security site", as many that are dark-themed, and possesses the forwarding-facing appearance of professionalism.
If the only option to view Thwack is dark, I will not only discontinue visiting because it is painfully difficult to read - I will abstain from using these forums as a resource because of the perceived personal nature that a dark-colored website generally denotes.
I welcome everyone's feedback in this regard. Thank you.
First of all, thank you for being a loyal SolarWinds customer and fan of Thwack.
I am emailing to notify you that soon we will be removing the “Lean and Green” theme from Thwack. The platform which we use for Thwack, called Community Server, is removing support for themes. Currently just a small subset of Thwack members have chosen “Lean and Green” as a theme and by far most use “thwack-dark”.
Our records indicate that you currently use Lean and Green. If so I would like to ask you to select “thwack-dark” in your profile so that your transition will be seamless. You can edit your profile here: http://thwack.com/user/EditProfile.aspx?ReturnUrl=%2fdefault.aspx
If you have any concerns or questions, please feel free to email or call me to discuss.
• We are removing user-selected site themes. Similar to virtualization, we have found that very few sites actually use this feature. User-selected site themes enabled site members to pick a theme for viewing the site. More and more communities are taking the time to create a customized site-wide theme, and they naturally want *all* users to see their site identically. So, in an effort to simplify the administration of a Community Server site, we have decided to drop the feature. (Note: Blog owners will still be able to select a theme for their blog.)
SolarWinds, Director, Product Marketing
P 512.682.9493 | F 512.682.9301
Based on the outcome of this poll, the comment by Andy Salo stating, "Currently just a small subset of Thwack members have chosen “Lean and Green” as a theme and by far most use “thwack-dark”." is grossly incorrect. Many more people use the Lean and Green, versus thawck-dark.
Thanks for all of the great feedback. As the cause of all the turmoil about the Thwack themes, I want to apologize to those that have had a difficult time with the readability and/or usability of thwack-dark. When we first launched the site, the intention was to create a theme that was a little outside the norm - edgy, and not your run of the mill corporate forum. I think we succeeded to some extent, but the comments about readability and color scheme are heard and understood, so thank you for that feedback.
Over the last several months since we launched the site, we addressed several of the non-color related usability concerns about thwack-dark and thwack-light, such as creating a liquid center column that resizes automatically, increasing the number of posts and threads shown by default on the page, adding a search bar to the top of the forums that includes searching of forum topics only, forums, or the entire site, etc. But we haven't addressed the color and I do think we need to do that.
One of the issues with lean-and-green that I didn't mention in my email is the time it takes for the web team to support and produce updates for two completely different formats - thwack-dark and thwack-light are one format, while lean-and-green is a completely different layout. It's much harder to maintain the different styles.
So, to respond to your requests we would like to do the following:
1) We are going to keep both thwack-dark and thwack-light for the near term. I believe several comments in this thread said thwack-light was fairly acceptable, so we will be keeping that as a theme option.
2) We are starting to plan for the next-generation of Thwack, with hopefully many more useful features for the community. One of the items we are planning is updating the theme, and that includes color and potentially navigation. We still need to go to one theme as our platform Community Server isn't going to support themes anymore, but our intention will be to make the site theme much more amenable to the majority of our users.
The next-generation Thwack won't happen overnight, but when we get to the point of choosing designs for a theme over the next few months I want to involve our members in weighing in on the choice. I'll figure out the details as we get closer on how we do that, but in general I don't want it to be a surprise to people and to do that we need to work together.
Let me know if you have any concerns with this plan and as always I'm happy to get your feedback.
I personally had not even looked at the choices. I know that the Thwack-dark is very hard on these old eyes. I just switched it over to the Thwack-Light, MUCH better IMO... Mr Salo needs to consider the light version over the dark. I know that they just want to be hip and cool... But, if I get headaches reading it, I won't be for long...
When the site was first brought up, some people had issues with their posts not working correctly, and the suggestion was to use "Lean and Green". I assume these issues have been resolved...? I must say that I have to echo the sentiments about the name of the site, as well as the dark theme, but "light" doesn't seem to be so bad. The font color for thread titles is a little rough on the eyes, and the gray background makes it a little more difficult to read the content of the posts themselves, but it does look a bit more cheerful than the goth theme (unless you're into that kind of thing). 🙂
I like lean-and-green the best. I found it easier to tell if a new post was made, etc. I'm using the thwack-light and I'll get used to it. I'm not sure why there is a big deal about having themes like this on the site. One thing I wish they did change is have different views available that you can make your own. Like on the right side of the page I don't care about the points legend, etc...I want My Discussions link at the top....today I can't do that.
I use the "Lean and Green" theme. When I first saw the email, I didn't know the name of the theme I used, but I checked for this poll. I do know that I do NOT like the default dark theme! It is hard for me to read and from the very beginning, I changed the theme to the light colored theme. If you are going to remove support for themes, remove the dark theme and make your website lightly colored like 90% of the existing forum/web sites. I can't say that I will completely stop reading/participating in this forum, but I will definitely visit the site less if my only choice is the dark theme. Aside from the problems that my eyes have with the thwack-dark theme, I also believe that the dark look is not (or shouldn't be) the look of a website that is owned/run by a professional organization with enterprise customers. While I resisted stating my opinion in the past, this email has forced my opinion out into the open.
SolarWinds solutions are rooted in our deep connection to our user base in the THWACK® online community. More than 150,000 members are here to solve problems, share technology and best practices, and directly contribute to our product development process.