What is dark mode?
In general all bright colors are being replaced with darker ones (black or grey) to reduce eye strain especially for people working at night.
In the last year or so we are witnessing an increasing number of big names implementing dark mode as an optional view for their users. Companies and developers are bringing dark mode both to mobile apps and desktops to serve the users request.
The rise of the dark mode
- November 2016 – Discord mobile/desktop (https://twitter.com/discordapp/status/798284925765971968?lang=en)
- September 2017 – Skype mobile (https://www.neowin.net/news/latest-skype-for-android-update-brings-dark-theme-to-the-app)
- September 2017 – Twitch on desktop (https://twitter.com/twitch/status/910682104836395008?lang=en)
- September 2017 – Twitter on desktop (https://www.theverge.com/2017/9/6/16263416/twitter-night-mode-desktop-roll-out-moon-icon)
- March 2018 – YouTube mobile app (https://techcrunch.com/2018/03/13/youtubes-mobile-app-gets-a-dark-mode/)
- May 2018 – Reddit (https://www.theverge.com/2018/5/25/17393320/reddit-night-mode-dark-how-to)
- June 2018 – macOS Mojave (https://www.apple.com/macos/mojave-preview/)
- WhatsApp – https://news4c.com/whatsapp-night-mode-and-private-chats-will-soon-be-implemented-according-to-some-rumors/
Apple’s move to introduce dark mode raises a lot of awareness around the topic and we will see more and more companies and developers implementing it in their apps.
Does it actually work or it just looks cool?
There is some debate on wether people want dark mode because it looks cool or because it actually reduce eye strain at night. The answer is both.
By looking at twitter users’ reaction to the introduced dark mode, I would rather say that they mainly like the “coolness” of it.
On the other hand, when looking at developers` opinion and preference for dark screen, it appears that coolness is only one of the reasons.
In most cases the reason is that bright screens take toll on your eyes (they really do), especially if you are starring at the screen for 12+ hours a day (like most of us do). The majority of developers argue that their eyes don’t feel that sore after long sessions when they have some sort of dark mode enabled both on their IDE and browser.
So does it work or not?
In my personal opinion IT DOES, but it really depends on your setup and environment.
- In a low-light environment, your screen is the main light source. Thus the darker the screen, the lesser the strain on your eyes.
- In a bright environment, the low-contrast of darker screen can be even more tiring than the white screen.
In other words the decision to enable dark mode everywhere or not has to be made AFTER you consider your environment.
- At the office
During the day, I spend most of my time in a very bright environment and although I LOVE having dark mode enabled, I avoid enabling it.
- At home
The lightning is far lower compared to the office lightning standards, thus I enable dark mode/night shift on any device, app, website I can.
Sadly most websites and apps still lack it, but I found this browser extension https://nighteye.app/
It enables dark mode on pretty much any website and works like magic!