12 votes

Why is dark mode such a big deal?

Dark mode being added to an app can make headlines on several tech sites. Why do people feel so strongly about dark mode?

13 comments

  1. Seven
    Link
    The way I see it is that it's not just a small added feature, it's something that affects every aspect of how I use an app or website. It's not just pleasant on the eyes, it's pleasant on the eyes...

    The way I see it is that it's not just a small added feature, it's something that affects every aspect of how I use an app or website. It's not just pleasant on the eyes, it's pleasant on the eyes all the time, which, to me, makes it a fairly major update to an app or website.

    21 votes
  2. StellarTabi
    Link
    Because getting your eyes blasted by literally every mobile app, desktop app, and website that only has full headlights extra bright extra white mode really sucks and actually hurts people's eyes...

    Because getting your eyes blasted by literally every mobile app, desktop app, and website that only has full headlights extra bright extra white mode really sucks and actually hurts people's eyes and there are people with vision disabilities that are even more adversely affected by the hegemonic bright white mode.

    14 votes
  3. cancycou
    Link
    Back when I started reading ebooks on a PDA, I've always found that light grey text on dark background is much more soothing for my eyes. Dark mode is also great for using apps at night. But I...

    Back when I started reading ebooks on a PDA, I've always found that light grey text on dark background is much more soothing for my eyes.

    Dark mode is also great for using apps at night.

    But I understand that not all people like dark mode, like my wife.

    10 votes
  4. [2]
    Greg
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    Adding to what others have quite rightly said, it's also something of a snowball effect - one application with dark mode doesn't mean that much, but if a few of your regular apps/websites support...

    Adding to what others have quite rightly said, it's also something of a snowball effect - one application with dark mode doesn't mean that much, but if a few of your regular apps/websites support it, it becomes all the more jarring to switch across to one that doesn't.

    As for why it's suddenly come to the fore now: Apple added it to iOS and macOS as a systemwide option and we're now seeing the ripple effect of other major software companies updating their theming to match.

    7 votes
    1. vivaria
      Link Parent
      Just to tack onto this, I downloaded an extension for Firefox that applies a dark theme to most websites. It works really well! Now that I've gotten used to it, it does feel jarring to run into a...

      Just to tack onto this, I downloaded an extension for Firefox that applies a dark theme to most websites. It works really well! Now that I've gotten used to it, it does feel jarring to run into a lone website that isn't supported by the extension.

      Prior to installing it, dark mode pages were the outliers and felt "off", so I don't think I really understood their value. It took a while for my brain to adjust to having different visual cues for different bits of UI functionality.

      1 vote
  5. Douglas
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    I think it's just finally giving (more) attention to screen's lights on our sleep schedules, and probably enough people in the tech industry are up staring at screens at night that dark mode...

    I think it's just finally giving (more) attention to screen's lights on our sleep schedules, and probably enough people in the tech industry are up staring at screens at night that dark mode would've inevitably wound up embedded into the OS and eventually the apps.

    And tech sites just write about it 'cause they need something to write about.

    Anecdotally I feel like a smug hipster about the whole thing on account I had my own personal website back in ~2000ish and coded its Shockwave animation banner to be night-themed or day-themed depending on the user's system clock. It was very gimmicky at the time but I was a teen trying to get familiar with HTML stuff and was surprised no other websites were doing anything like it.

    5 votes
  6. [2]
    reese
    Link
    I can tell you why I feel strongly about dark mode: because light themes hurt my eyes. At night, if I stare at light themes for a while, you will see broken blood vessels in my eyes, but this is...

    I can tell you why I feel strongly about dark mode: because light themes hurt my eyes. At night, if I stare at light themes for a while, you will see broken blood vessels in my eyes, but this is not the case with dark themes. And my eyes are healthy, by the way, at least based on an optometrist visit a few weeks ago. So I'm pretty sure this is an issue other normal people experience too. Having tired eyes sucks, especially when you work with computers all the time. Dark themes/modes have drastically improved my productivity, meaning that I can keep working throughout the night, not just because it's much more bearable at the moment, but because I didn't spend all prior hours of the day wearing my eyes out.

    And by the way, I appropriately modulate the brightness of my devices (mostly automating it with software like Redshift), and I wear UV protective glasses just to be careful. It's not like I'm sitting here drooling with the brightness cranked all the way up.

    Disturbingly there are opinions in this thread that downplay the inclination to use dark themes as a preference. Okay, I guess not enjoying having my eyes hurt is a preference. I'm not understanding why there is any modicum of hostility aimed at people who benefit from the fact that dark themes are now ubiquitous. How having what is now generally an extra option inconveniences people who prefer light themes for purely aesthetic reasons is inexplicable to me. I suppose if there are apps that only offer dark themes now, people who don't like it will just have to use browser extensions like the rest of us have already been doing for years. One great thing about Tildes is that we have various dark themes available—I use the black theme, since it bothers my eyes the least.

    5 votes
    1. StellarTabi
      Link Parent
      Tilde's theme options is pretty solid.

      Tilde's theme options is pretty solid.

      4 votes
  7. [2]
    Eric_the_Cerise
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    I'd like to flip this question. Why is it so often such a big deal for apps and sites to include a dark mode? In most cases, it's not that hard to include, and yet, site after site, it gets added...

    I'd like to flip this question. Why is it so often such a big deal for apps and sites to include a dark mode? In most cases, it's not that hard to include, and yet, site after site, it gets added in years later as some tertiary feature ...

    5 votes
    1. Sand
      Link Parent
      It's easy to include, but it's hard to get it right. A lot of dark themes just look bad. And only some people think it's a necessary feature, most can do without it as long as they browse during...

      It's easy to include, but it's hard to get it right. A lot of dark themes just look bad. And only some people think it's a necessary feature, most can do without it as long as they browse during the day.

      6 votes
  8. Diet_Coke
    Link
    I don't understand it either. Is my phone just not very bright, or is it because I'm not a mole person that 'day mode' looks just fine?

    I don't understand it either. Is my phone just not very bright, or is it because I'm not a mole person that 'day mode' looks just fine?

    4 votes
  9. nothis
    Link
    You tell me! I actually was all in with time based color adjustment till night shift style warmer colors in the evening. That made sense to me. But I actually had to turn dark mode off on iOS...

    You tell me! I actually was all in with time based color adjustment till night shift style warmer colors in the evening. That made sense to me. But I actually had to turn dark mode off on iOS because I find it weirdly unpleasant. White on black glimmer is just way harder for me to focus on than a white background with the stuff that matters in black. I think, as a day-active species, we’re way better at doing “default background is bright, details in front are dark” than the other way round. I also never use computers in an absolutely pitch black environment, even as a night owl I like having a lamp provide a comfortable base brightness in my work environment.

    As for the original question... it’s a big deal because it requires everyone to play along, if you have a single bright app, it will become even more glaringly bright after switching from a dark mode app.

    1 vote
  10. GONz4LED
    Link
    TIL there's a dark mode for tildes... And also themes! Nice. And answering your question, for one dark modes tends to be easy for your eyes, not to mention less battery consumption made by for...

    TIL there's a dark mode for tildes... And also themes! Nice. And answering your question, for one dark modes tends to be easy for your eyes, not to mention less battery consumption made by for smartphone/tablet's screen and last but not least they're cool!

    1 vote