Lumpy Burgertushie wrote:you do realize that the xenforo default style is very blue?
if you want white space just edit the included prosilver style or look at some of the other ones that are in development. many of them and many others will be released soon so you should have a lot to choose from.
There is a perception issue to all of this though, Robert. Like or not, and be it fair in your opinion or not... but phpBB is perceived as being behind the times. In truth, it is in many respects. Although it is great to see the project moving forward more quickly now.
Styles, however, offer a pretty simple way to counter some of those perceptions. phpBB might be an open source project, but it is still marketing itself. Design, in effect, as much about marketing as it is about pragmatism (imo).
Look at Wordpress; they change their default theme every year, and they make quite a big thing about that, and that is generally perceived as being Good News for Wordpress - and Wordpress continues to grow. Wordpress do not sit around thinking.. "why should we? you can do all of that yourselves." They understand that their role as software developers is to provide ever-increasingly useful and nimble software.
And they do so with their annual styles not just visually, but technically too, in terms of the tools & techniques that are employed / enabled under the bonnet of those themes. It keeps things fresh, and in this fast-moving internet world we inhabit in software nowadays, people want fresh.
This is fairly apparent when you consider the attraction of forum and social media content - forums themselves draw people in precisely because they are fresh (content wise). But they often frustrate because they are not fresh in terms of new ideas or functions, or looks. New software, e.g. apps, draws people in because it brings freshness of ideas, and fresh uses. Forum software competes with this new reality.
Ultimately, people want fresh; else they perceive stale.
It goes for tools and uses and look and feel, as well as it does for content. Not on the same regularity, but people expect these non-content things to change much more regularly than they ever used to do.