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The emergence of dark mode3 min read

3 min read

Over the last 12 months a new trend has been emerging in the world of website design – dark mode.

Websites like Reddit, YouTube and Twitter have all rolled out a dark mode for users and even more have announced plans to test dark mode. In this blog, we explore dark mode – what it is, and why you should consider implementing it. 

What is the dark mode?

Dark mode is essentially a second theme for a website. In most implementations, the option to switch to dark mode is hidden in the website’s settings. When a website is set to dark mode a page that would usually use black text on a white background would switch to the inverse, with white text on a black background.

Below shows an example of standard YouTube settings versus YouTube settings with dark mode enabled:

Why are websites getting dark modes?

The more time we spend using screens at night, the more we start to notice the strain on our eyes and in some not-so-rare cases, this can lead to difficulties with falling asleep.

Leading operating system producers have taken notice of this and provided users with the ability to turn off blue light in what is being described as “night mode”. Dark mode is a step further, as whilst turning off blue light helps reduce sleep disruptions caused by screens, dark mode is believed to further help in reducing eye strain.

Beyond that there is a secondary benefit for users. Devices that use organic light-emitting diode (OLED) screens can see significant battery savings when dark mode is enabled. In fact, following a recent experiment Google has confirmed that on Android there can be as much as a 60% difference in power usage (this test was conducted using the first Pixel phone on the YouTube app). You can read more about it here.

Battery life is becoming increasingly important to users, so it makes sense that many websites have implemented or are considering the implementation of dark mode.  Offering their users the choice to use this feature, would give them the impression that the website somewhat cares about the health of the user and may ultimately encourage them to return.

Should you be considering adding dark mode to your site?

If you notice that a large portion of visitors on your website arrive at night, then it is feature that should be considered.

Another reason you may want to consider implementing it is due to the possibility of dark mode being forced onto a website. What this means is that even if your website doesn’t have dark mode, browsers may recolour a website if the user has set the browser or system to dark mode. Code in a beta version of Google Chrome indicates that this feature is going to be tested soon (as of writing). You can read more here

Apple also has a similar experimental option within iOS called “Smart Inverse”. If you’ve ever used “Smart Inverse” you’ll know that the recolouring isn’t perfect and can potentially lead to a webpage not looking the way it was intended to look. In order to stay in control of what a user sees on your website, it might be worth considering adding a dark mode feature!

To find out more about dark mode, or to find out more about Croud, contact us