No matter what we do, technology is always involved. Internet use and screen time comprise a big chunk of our waking moments. As a result, we’ve placed increasingly high expectations on user experience. 

Websites and web apps must not only serve their purpose, but they must also be appealing and easy to use. 

One of today’s popular features is Dark Mode. According to research, 82.7% of users prefer to use Dark Mode on their devices. 

It was first introduced on Windows Phone 7 in 2010. After confirming that it’s energy-efficient, Google made Dark Mode available for Android users in 2018, with Apple following suit a year after.

What is Dark Mode?

Dark Mode is characterized by a low-light user interface featuring varying shades of black and gray. It’s also known as black mode, dark theme, night mode, and light-on-dark.

Whereas default settings (“Light Mode”) show dark text against a light background, Dark Mode displays the opposite with light-colored text on a dark screen.

The main principle in making Dark Mode work is hitting the correct color contrast to ensure readability. 

Dark Mode’s Impact on User Experience

The reason behind Dark Mode’s popularity is multifaceted. Some studies suggest that Dark Mode reduces eye strain, especially for astigmatic users. It’s also preferable when using a device in low-light conditions, like when users start to wind down at the end of the day. 

That’s why streaming services like Netflix have darker themes. These platforms anticipate their users to be most active during the night. Instead of having consumers adjust the brightness of their screens, they shoulder the responsibility to provide a better user experience.

Another advantage is that Dark Mode preserves battery life by up to 63% on AMOLED displays. Because it doesn’t require a lot of white pixels, it is less power-hungry than default settings. 

Meanwhile, some users want Dark Mode simply because they find it more aesthetically pleasing.

Laptop with white blank screen on a wooden desk

Giant names like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Reddit offer Dark Mode to their visitors.

Terra, a large media company in Brazil, improved user engagement by doing the same. After making a dark theme available, the brand reduced its bounce rate by 60% and increased pages per session by 170%. 

Design Tips When Using Dark Mode

Inversing your color palette or putting everything in grayscale isn’t synonymous with Dark Mode. A lot of thought must be put into your design. 

To hit it out of the park, consider these tips when implementing Dark Mode:

1. Avoid pure black

Although black and grey are the predominant colors of Dark Mode, you should steer clear of pure black. When the contrast between the background and foreground elements is too high, the design becomes too strenuous to the eyes.

It could lead to headaches and discourage consumers from ever revisiting your website. Pick out nice shades of grey and test your colors before and after implementing your dark theme.

2. Decrease the brightness and contrast of images

With Dark Mode, it’s best to tone down the brightness and contrast of images. The level of brightness you use on your graphics for your default theme is likely too jarring against black and grey.

You can dim your photos by uploading both versions of an image and manipulating your HTML using the <picture> element. An easier way is to use the CSS filter() function.

3. Use muted colors

Saturated colors on dark backgrounds are a recipe for disaster. Vivid shades cause what are called optical vibrations, where elements appear to shake when viewed on the screen.

Muted colors and pastels are better suited for dark mode as they are more legible and reduce optical strain. 

Senior Black Man Squinting Eyes Taking Off Eyeglasses Indoor

To pass WCAG’s accessibility standards, you need a contrast ratio of at least 4:5:1 for body text at all elevation surfaces. Use this standard as a guide while tweaking the tones of your primary and secondary colors.

4. Double-check your logo

In line with adjusting your color palette, it’s important to mention branding. Working on a dark theme, some colors on your logo aren’t going to fly. Dark shades will disappear, while lighter tones may not look aesthetically pleasing.

One option is to have a minimalist version of your logo. If you want to keep its original colors, you can either add a white stroke, a shadow, or a glow, depending on what will make your logo the most legible. 

5. Change the fill on your icons

With regard to icons, it’s the same principle. You want just the right amount of contrast so that they’re easy on the eyes, meaning you have to avoid full white lines. 

It would be great if all or the majority of your icons are SVG so you can change their colors using CSS. For font icons, you need to open your HTML file and change the color properties instead. 

6. Use variable fonts

Typing on a laptop

Changing just your font colors isn’t enough to make text look right on Dark Mode. If you compare your dark and light themes side by side, you’ll see that light-colored text across a dark background appears bolder. This is true even when you’re using the same font weight.

While it doesn’t seem so significant while staring at a single line, it becomes a real problem when reading long paragraphs of text. Variable fonts are your friends to make these small, yet crucial improvements to typography. 

You can make them lighter and thinner by adjusting different axes in CSS. Similar to icons, don’t choose pure white to go against your night theme, and be mindful of WCAG’s golden ratio. 

7. Show layering with lighter tones

Lastly, use lighter shades to denote layers “closer” to the user. This will create depth and visual hierarchy which serve as navigational cues to visitors as they interact with your UI.

You can also use opacity in the same way, going from high to low opacity elements as an object moves towards the top of the screen. 

Layering will make it easier for consumers to see where they should click or tap on, as well as backtrack their movements on your website.

Work with the Best Web Design Team

Dark Mode offers a completely different user experience. It’s not enough to want in on the bandwagon, you must understand its purpose and what it means for people who benefit the most out of the design. 

It can generate big returns to your business, but only if you do it right. 

Hire a professional team of web developers and designers to make every component perfect. Contact DevWerkz today.