Dark Theme is a new display setting within popular apps and operating systems. This new feature takes the standard white background with black/dark text and inverts it. What was once a white background becomes a black background. And what was once a dark text becomes white.
This serves two distinct advantages:
- Contrast: It is much easier on the eyes to read light-colored text on a dark background.
- Battery: It saves a considerable amount of energy on mobile devices. That bright, white background we are all used to is a battery drainer. Therefore, flipping the contrast conserves battery power.
Accessibility has become a more important element within UI design. As a result, what began as a way for people with visual impairments to access site information has evolved into the new design standard. Contrast ensures that the information can be seen without it being lost amongst other elements in the background or foreground. It also ensures Calls to Action or CTA’s are more noticeable. If you want certain blocks of content to really “pop” then having strong contrast is essential.
Phones with new features are great, but with each new feature comes another drain on battery life. It seems the #1 thing people care about re their phone – is battery life. With multiple apps tagging your Geo-location, photos getting streamed to the cloud and a constant barrage of notifications lighting up the screen your battery is under a lot of stress. On top of that we rarely turn the phones off, just plug them in at night and charge the battery again to do it all over again tomorrow. Any action that can be taken to extend our battery life is usually well-received. This is where Dark Theme really shines. It seems like something that wouldn’t have much of an effect but when you consider how often your screen is on those actions quickly add up.
Android 10 – Dark Theme
With the recent release of Andriod 10, Google has decided to integrate Dark Theme into the operating system. Prior to Andriod 10, Dark Theme could only be applied if a specific third-party application offered it as an option. If it was applied, it only was active on that specific app and nothing else. Google has prioritized mobile experience over desktop, and as such readability on smaller screens is now a top concern for the search giant.
In September 2018 Apple released the next version of its Operating System called: Mojave. Included in the OS was the new Mojave Dark Mode, which flips the contrast in every native Apple application. What seemed like just a cool feature turned out to be one of the main attractions. Legacy hardware that was too old to run the latest dark theme couldn’t upgrade and therefore created a visual split between newer versions of the computers that could run Mojave and the older ones that couldn’t.
Tides are indeed turning
With popular platforms such as Apple and Andriod offering Dark Theme as well as numerous 3rd-party app developers it seems that this trend is likely to stay. In short, you may begin to notice more websites applying this setting.