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New thinkorswim® Reskin is More Than Just a Pretty Face

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September 18, 2015

The year was 1999. Bill Clinton was wrapping up his second term as president, Cher was topping the music charts, and the tech-bubble was pushing the U.S. equity market to record highs. This was the world in which thinkorswim was first unveiled; a groundbreaking trading experience that brought professional-level tools and resources for trading to the retail investor. Sixteen years later, the thinkorswim platform has driven an unprecedented amount of innovation in the field of retail trading. thinkorswim has delivered on average more than seven major content updates a year over that period of time with literally hundreds of features and improvements designed to equip our clients with the very best trading technology possible.

All that being said—16 years is a lifetime for software, and it is high time to give thinkorswim a bit of an architectural overhaul. Which is why we’re stoked to give you a sneak peek of the thinkorswim reskin that will be out for your enjoyment soon:

“What’s the reskin all about?” you ask. It’s a complete overhaul of the user interface of the thinkorswim platform. All of the code that comprises the front end of the application (the part that you all see) has been reviewed and refactored—updating the code behind almost all portions of the software’s look and feel. Everything from the charts to the position statement, the options chain to the analyze tab, has been given a thorough review and update.

FIGURE 1: GLAMOUR SHOTS.

The user interface of thinkorswim will soon be introduced with an all-new look and feel, including a thorough architectural review and update. Source: TD Ameritrade. For illustrative purposes only.

A rebuild of our front-end software on this scale packs a lot of benefits. First and most important, the reskin has allowed us to completely overhaul the codebase, putting the most current and consistent programming standards in place—in all aspects of the platform. Adhering to these standards makes it easier for us to develop new tools and features while supporting all of the functionality you already use and love. It also makes the system as a whole even more secure.

Redefining thinkorswim: What Does it Mean for You?

In addition, updating all areas of the platform simultaneously allowed us to make all of the styles and behaviors of the platform more consistent, making the platform easier to learn for new users, and quicker to access for experienced users.

  • Font sizes, color schemes, and text spacing can now all be updated on the fly to customize your experience.
  • The sidebar and most modules now resize intelligently.
  • All menus and shortcuts now use a consistent control format to save you time, reducing the number of steps between actions.

FIGURE 2: BESPOKE EXPERIENCE.

An array of updated features now allow you to create a fully-customized experience—on the fly. Source: TD Ameritrade. For illustrative purposes only.

Last but not least, the reskin has given us the opportunity to make the platform even more beautiful, because the best platform in the industry should look the part. We have made the overall color schemes softer, using more judicious highlighting to draw the eye to the most important data. We have also added two new high-contrast color schemes for maximum readability, and improved red/green differentiation for those with color vision deficiency. In addition, the fonts and icons throughout the platform have been scaled and anti-aliased to look fantastic no matter how high your screen resolution is set.

Now, with all of this going down, some of you thinkorswim OGs might be a little worried that the platform you’ve come to know and love is going to be a whole different animal. Rest assured that this is not the case. While we have done a great deal of work to update the look and feel of the platform and its architecture, the fundamental experience of using the platform has changed very little. Your customized workspaces, studies, scripts, and alerts will all migrate seamlessly to this new version with no special importing or conversion process required. Several menu items and icons have a new look, but the same controls are housed in the same locations as they were previously and they behave the same way. You can pick up your trading right where you left it with no learning curve to get over first. We have even included an Old School color theme for the nostalgic, which echoes the Black color scheme of the original thinkorswim skin.

FIGURE 3: OLD SCHOOL FUNDAMENTALS.

Worry not! You don't have to lift a finger—the transition will happen "automagically." And, you can even select thinkorswim's original Black color scheme to trade just like the good ol' days. Source: TD Ameritrade. For illustrative purposes only.

Stay In the Know

For more information on what exactly will be updating upon release, you can check out the Release Notes page on the thinkorswim Learning Center. After the release, keep an eye out for new videos on the Tutorial Videos page with several overviews in the reskin. As always, we’re here to answer any questions by chat, email, or by phone. Our development team will be keeping a close eye on your feedback to continue improving your experience.