The dark mode is one of the most popular trends that are being used by several world-class brands including, WhatsApp, Instagram, Google, Facebook, and Apple.
Dark mode has been in play from the very beginning, to be honest.
Remember those old-school, monochrome, monitors that had green computer codes raining down a black background?
However, it was not until the near end of this decade that the dark mode was considered to be revived.
Once Google verified that dark mode saves battery life, they added the feature to their Android OS in 2018. A year later, Apple followed the suit with a dark mode on iOS and iPadOS.
While the dark mode designs have largely been applied to mobile apps and tablets, a lot of brands are applying the same for their website designs as well.
So, why exactly dark theme designs for websites and mobile apps have become so popular in the last few years?
Several pieces of research give the following list of benefits of using dark mode design;
- Reduces strain on eyes; hence improving readability.
- Increase visibility in low light setup.
- Saves the battery significantly.
- Provides a sense of doing something good.
- Helps improve focus.
In fact, several smartphone manufacturers have now started adding an in-built feature in their device for adaptive brightness. It adjusts the brightness of your mobile screen according to the light you are in; making it easier on your eyes to read while saving the battery for your phone at the same time.
Having said that, like every other thing, even dark mode has a few disadvantages attached to it, such as;
- Diminished emotional connect: Professional graphic designers understand the fact that all colors carry individual emotional essence. So, when bright colors can carry bright emotions, the opposite can also be true.
- Lack of sense of space: Dark theme designs can create a visual sense of less space.
The main objective behind using the dark theme for designing a website or an app is to provide a great viewing experience to your customers by reducing the high contrasting effect. So, clearly, using a pure black color in the background may not help with the cause.
A good – and a safer – practice would be to go for dark grey as the primary surface color for components.
Light text on a dark gray surface has less contrast than light text on a black surface.
It is always advised to avoid using fully saturated color shades on a dark background. It can make it intolerable for the readers to focus for long with such vibrating color tones.
Lighter color schemes won’t make the UI less expressive, however, they can surely help maintain appropriate contrast; without causing an eye strain.
Additionally, saturated colors find it difficult to pass the WCAG’s accessibility standard; most likely they will never.
“On” colors are the ones that appear “on” top of components and key surfaces. Essentially, they are used for text.
For dark mode, the default “on” color is pure white (#FFFFFF). But, as explained in the last point, highly saturated colors must be avoided against dark backgrounds since they would visually “vibrate”.
That’s why it is highly recommended to use a slightly darker white. You may apply the following variations in your text as per their use;
- The high-emphasis text should have an opacity of 87%
- Medium emphasis text is applied at 60%
- The disabled text uses an opacity of 38%.
As explained earlier in the article, every color carries an emotional essence with it. So, simply reversing your light mode design to dark mode and expecting it to have the same emotional connection with the audience won’t work.
When you simply invert the colors to create a dark theme design, you might be turning colors that had a psychological purpose into meaningless muted colors.
So, be intentional about your color selection. Take advantage of this opportunity to create a stronger identity for your brand.
Similar to light theme design, when it comes to creating dark theme UI it’s essential to create hierarchy and emphasize important elements in your layout.
While shadows are used to signify hierarchy in the light mode, overlays are applied to define the display hierarchy in dark mode design. The higher a layer is, the lighter it should be.
This will create a visual hierarchy in the dark mode that goes from the most used elements in your display to the least.
So, as they say, “perfect work is the one that is always in progress”. You need to test and see how both the features are functioning as per the users’ feedback and make the appropriate amends.
Also, don’t be writing on the stone. Give your users the freedom to toggle their display from light mode to dark mode.
This gives users the chance to control their own experience and make them feel more in authority.
The use of dark mode design for website and mobile app themes is getting more in use with every passing day. If you are looking to join the wagon but are not sure if you have the right ticket, we can help you board with ease. With a qualified team of skilled designers, GraphicsZoo can help you with the transition from light to dark theme websites and apps. Contact us today at firstname.lastname@example.org