This is a great thread and I'm adding my opinion here to keep the debate going and help keep it above the fold.
I've yet to switch over to AD, for purely practical reasons - no Pantone, no artboards. Still, both of those are hopefully not many motorway junctions away on the roadmap, so all good there. However, just below these in my wishlist is the UI.
I struggle hugely with the dark theme – I find the contrast levels between backgrounds and type/icons problematic – I'm unable to reach that wonderful point where the interface disappears and I'm simply focused on my work.
And, I have some far less defensible aesthetic problems as well - the darkness makes the application feel "closed in" to me, whilst the candy-coloured tool icons just don't say "Pro" to me.
What I do know is that I really wish I hadn't seen Andreas Larsen's great work in Posts #25 and #30 in this thread - those mockups are exactly the UI option I'm looking for.
So, I'm disappointed to hear TonyB downplay this issue in post #47, but a little heartened that MEB isn't quite as negative in post #48. And, of course, I'm just pleased that Affinity staff engage so well on this forum.
My concern is that, as the Photo beta picks up pace, issues like this one are going to sink further down the list. I hope Serif recognise the opportunity they have here to make a huge step-up in market share, and can find the resources to develop 2 apps at the same time (with a third coming).
I'm old enough to remember the giddy excitement of the moment when InDesign 2.0 released me from Quark. It's clear that Adobe, and the design market as a whole NEEDS the competitive push Serif/Affinity is bringing.
Thus, I've bought my AD licence, will buy my Affinity Photo licence the day it comes out, and the Affinity Publisher one after that. But if it's a matter of cash, then get a Kickstarter launched - I'm up for an extra £50 if I can get a light, flat UI.
Perhaps you could call it the OAP Persona?