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Shining a light on ‘Dark Mode’

DNA Darkmode

Dark mode is a new look that's easier on your eyes and helps you focus on your work, created by Apple. It uses a dark colour scheme that works system wide on Apple products but is also being developed on other devices, including the apps that come with your Mac/PC. Third-party apps, websites and email clients can adopt it, too.

It’s not entirely new, as some of the original computer displays were dark in colour, however it will have a new effect on designs that have largely been created to work in a world of light. It’s also been predicted to have an increase in use over the next decade, as the negative effects of blue/white light on sleep and on the eyes are becoming more known, especially on mobile devices such as phones, tablets and laptops. And, with the increase in screen time in recent months, due to COVID-19, this could be something that shifts sooner than expected.

Some of the benefits of dark mode include:

Healthier screen time

There has been a steady increase in screen time over the past decade which is only predicted to increase. We now spend an average of 24 hours per week looking at screens, compared to only nine hours in 2000. Creating a dark mode will protect eyes as people use devices close to bedtime. They use blue/white light in light mode which prevents the release of melatonin, a hormone associated with night-time. So, reducing this will also help with sleep.

Health benefits

As well as helping with sleep, dark mode can benefit some users with specific health conditions that are irritated by bright lights. Using dark mode can also help people who suffer from migraines and people who are sensitive to light. Used correctly dark mode can also be more accessible.

Improved battery life

Dark mode is good at prolonging your battery life. As LCD screens don’t have to omit as much light, your device will use less battery than in light mode.

It looks pretty cool…

Sometimes looking at something familiar in a new light (or dark mode in this instance) can freshen it up in people’s minds. It’s also the go to colour palette for sci-fi films and hacker movies.

Why does it matter?

Some of the major digital companies are starting to create dark mode versions of their apps, websites and software. Facebook recently launched their dark mode and Google were one of the first to have this option.

All major browsers and email clients now have a dark mode setting and they can change your websites and email into a dark colour palette, beyond what’s been developed. So, to stay ahead of the changes, companies are creating dark mode versions of their websites and emails so that they can maintain control of how their brand is viewed, meaning that no default colour palettes are shown, which may result in illegible type or invisible images.

But what does all of this mean for you?

Website

There are now plug-ins for most web browsers that allow the user to change the colour palette of a website to dark mode without your control. The best way to counteract this is to design a dark mode version of your website and allow the user to switch between the two designs. This allows your branding to remain consistent and accessible for all users.

Email

There is currently a lot less support for being able to switch between two different colour schemes within email, as some emails are viewed on much older versions of email clients, with fewer styling options. So, you could design a new email template that is in dark mode, and on brand, and use this for all emails. Or the best thing to do is check that all of the default background colours within your template are set to white so that when it appears in an email inbox with dark mode on, it still appears in the way you intended.

The good news

It’s still very early days in the switch over to the dark side, so there is plenty of time to consider your next move. However, with use of dark mode predicted to rise, keeping control of how your brand looks will be something you need to consider.

What does a dark mode website look like?

Here are some examples of websites we’ve created in dark mode:

Superdry dark mode MAN Careers Site Screenshot

The investment you make in your website is probably one of the largest in your budget. So, staying ahead of the digital curve is vital. What doesn’t seem too important now, will become common practice in no time at all and you don’t want to be running to catch up.

So, if you want more information about dark mode and how doing nothing will impact on both your brand and user experience, then get in touch and we can explore where you are now and, most importantly, we can help guide you through the process of future proofing your website, from design to development with limited impact on website downtime.

Date published: 28.05.2020


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