An Introduction to Dark Mode: Definition, Pros & Cons

January 30, 2021

Dark mode

Have you ever gotten fed up with your routine phone theme? Here, we’ll introduce a different theme which has been recently brought to market. This innovative theme is called dark mode and it’s now one of the biggest trends in design. In fact, dark theme has become pretty popular, especially among programmers. You can enable dark theme on all of your apps including WhatsApp, Instagram, Facebook, etc. In this guide, we’ll talk about dark mode and its pros and cons. Here’s what you need to know about this design trend.


What Is Dark Mode?

Computers used to display green texts on a black background. But this idea became outdated in the 80s. After nearly three decades, dark mode made its first comeback by google. Dark theme is a kind of display setting which can be used to make the foreground content stand out against the darker background. Actually, the system uses dark colors for screens, menus, controls, etc. This kind of design decreases your screen brightness and also provides a low color contrast ratio. Dark theme is available on both iOS and Android platforms and it supports all accessibility features.


Positive Points of Dark Mode

Dark theme has several advantages. Now, let’s take a quick look at a few practical benefits of dark theme.

  • Battery Saver: Dark mode allows you to save battery life. It reduces energy consumption on digital gadgets with OLED or AMOLED screens. In this technology, each pixel can light up individually. Black pixels are switched off, as you enable dark mode on your device. Clearly, LCD displays don’t benefit from this power-saving ability.
  • Reduces Blue Light: As you know, mobile devices emit short-wavelength blue light which is pretty harmful. Blue light has a huge effect on your sleep and it can keep you awake at night. But enabling dark mode on your phone can reduce the blue light exposure.
  • Reduces CVS (Computer Vision Syndrome): Staring at any screen for too long can lead to Computer Vision Syndrome like eye strain, double vision or headache. According to studies, dark theme can help reduce eye strain in low light conditions.
  • Improves Concentration: Light mode (dark foreground on light background) tends to distract your attention. But dark UI can improve your concentration.


Negative Points of Dark Mode

Like any other theme, dark mode has its drawbacks as well. In this part, you’ll get familiar with some disadvantages of dark mode.

  • Not Suitable for Everyone: As you know, approximately 50% of individuals suffer from astigmatism. Astigmatism makes things look blurry and also causes blurred vision. These people find it hard to read white content on a dark background. That’s why, they don’t feel comfortable with dark mode.
  • Reduces Readability: Some people are used to reading dark texts on light backgrounds. In other words, the human brain prefers dark content on a light screen. As a result, dark theme can reduce readability.
  • Bad for Productivity: Long texts are more difficult to read. Also, studies show that reading black text on a white background may reduce productivity. So, it takes much longer for our brain to process the content.
  • Decreases Emotional Connection: Some experts believe that light colors can establish a better connection with the audience. Therefore, choosing dark theme for a motivational, spiritual or inspirational brand may be a great risk.


3 Tips for Dark Mode Design

Nowadays, a large number of people prefer dark theme. As you know, every design often comes with numerous challenges. If you do it wrong, dark theme can make users frustrated. Here, we’ll provide some tips on how to use dark mode in your design.

1. Avoid High Contrast 

Book publishers always avoid using black texts on pure white backgrounds. The same rule is applied for dark theme. Pure black leads to high contrast which can be difficult to look at. In order to avoid these problems, you need to manage all the dark colors used in your dark mode. For instance, you can use dark grey as a primary color so as to avoid high contrast. This will reduce eye strain and make it a lot easier to look at. But don’t forget to make the background dark enough to show light text over it.


2. Use Desaturated Colors

Try not to use fully saturated colors on a dark background. Since they can reduce readability. Using desaturated colors such as light and muted colors can decrease eye strain. Muted colors refer to colors which have low saturation.


3. Use Proper Images

As you know, some images might have different looks on various themes. Although some of these images look good on light mode, they might not be suitable for dark theme. So, you need to choose your images according to your theme. Since images play an important part in your content. You can change colors and contrast ratios in order to make elements work with your dark theme.

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