Everything Should Have a Dark Mode

Dark modes are the new norm in software development regardless of the operating system, and while the majority of users do like such a visual style, others would be just fine without it as well.

But no matter if we like it or not, dark modes are everywhere. And when I say everywhere, I mean operating systems (Windows, Android, and soon iOS too) and apps alike, with even the most complex software solutions out there being updated with such a theme.

Tech giants like Microsoft and Apple too joined the dark mode push, and their operating systems, namely Windows 10 and macOS, respectively, now come with such a feature, and improvements keep coming with every new feature update.

The definition of a dark mode is as simple as it could be. A dark theme is a different visual style for a software application or operating system that changes the color theme to black or a shade that’s very close to it, either partially or completely.

In Windows 10 and macOS, for example, the dark mode already covers a substantial part of the operating system, and because the push for this setting is something that holds a key role in the long-term vision of the parent companies, all apps are being updated with a similar visual style.

So why does everything has to be black? Why do we need our software applications to be updated with a dark mode?

Without going into technical details, dark modes have become a trend mostly because they are supposed to be less straining on the eyes. If you’re staring at the screen for a long period of time, especially during the night, a dark theme should help, mostly because it makes everything easier on the eye.

There are several categories of users that could benefit from the implementation of a dark mode, and one of these are people suffering from photophobia. As the American Migraine Foundation puts it, darker settings could help reduce pain of a migraine.

“Many people with migraine cite bright light as a migraine trigger, and retreating to a dark or dimly lit room provides relief for some during an attack,” the organization explains.

Dark mode in iOS 13

Dark modes also help in the case of OLED screens because they reduce power consumption, simply because pixels on this type of displays don’t need to be turned on in order to display full black.

On the other hand, there are several cons for using dark mode everywhere, and people relying on accessibility features to work on their devices know this best. A dark visual style makes some parts of the software harder to observe, especially if the proper configuration isn’t used.

But there’s a different reason why dark modes need to be everywhere. It’s consistency.

With pretty much all big developers pushing for dark themes in their software, not having such a visual style simply breaks down this consistency concept, eventually affecting the application that comes without it.

Imagine working during the night with everything set either to a dark mode or dark colors, and then instantly switching to an application that still uses a light theme (or the light gray colors that everyone originally loved).

What a "light" mode looks like on a dark mode OS

This is painful not only due to the impact that it has on your eyes, but also from a usability perspective, as the lack of consistency makes it feel like you’re switching from one working environment to another one that’s completely different.

Large software developers, like Microsoft and Apple, have been struggling to achieve better consistency for years, and some, as it’s the case of the Redmond-based software giant, still have a lot of work to do in this regard.

For now, the dark mode is a concept that’s still being worked on, but sooner or later, everyone should you embrace it, regardless how simple or complex their software application is.

What do you think about dark themes in mobile and PC software? Is this something that every little app needs or are you better off without it?

Let us know what you think in the box after the jump.


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