Quick Tip: Allow User Themes to try out a new theme in existing courses (without affecting other users)

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If you want to test a theme out in an existing course or site but don’t want to change the experience for all users while you test features, User Themes is a great way to change a theme across a site (where themes aren’t forced at the course level) so that you can bang on a theme to find any issues it might introduce for users.

To enable user themes, go to Site Admin > Appearance > Themes > Theme Settings

user themes

Once enabled you (and any other user) can edit their theme when editing their profile (note that you can restrict what themes are available by name on the same page above).

user themes1Pretty handy. What else can you do with Theme Settings, check it all out here:

Hat tip Richard Oelmann who suggested this in a forum when I was searching for a similar answer.



2 Responses

  1. Another option we did when piloting a new theme was to enable ‘theme switch in URL’ then add two new HTML blocks to the front page (or custom menu):
    1) block with a link or button saying ‘try out the new theme’ that simply goes to ?theme=newtheme
    2) block with a link or button saying ‘return to old theme’ that simply goes to ?theme=oldtheme

    then using custom CSS settings on both themes we hid the unnecessary block (e.g. when using old theme you don’t need to see the ‘return to old theme’ block) and vice versa.

    In this scenario any user can change the theme by clicking the link- and if there’s a critical bug, say preventing access to editing profile all they need to do is log out and be back on the old theme, or a tech savvy individual can add &theme=oldtheme to the url to reset them. This process made it much simpler for people to be willing to try it out than editing their profile and as a result we had much broader feedback.

    Sorry I don’t have a screenshot- but it was a fairly simple process.

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