Dark Mode In UI Design Is On The Rise

What is your preferred mode, dark or light?

Most people use the dark mode exclusively, and the option is available on almost all apps and digital platforms. Dark mode is just better (sorry light mode supporters, you’re wrong).

Despite the rise of dark mode, some still resist it. And why do so many people consider dark user interfaces to be so important? Where did this trend originate, and why is it so popular?

The Origins of Dark Mode

In the past, dark mode was the only option. CRT monitors, the first computer monitors using cathode ray tubes (CRTs), were monochromatic by default. In 1977, the Apple II became the first personal computer with primitive colour displays. The use of colour in computer interfaces was not widespread until the 1980s.

Interestingly, these early computers lacked colour, but they used a technology we know today – touch screens. 

CRTs remained the norm until the mid-nineties, when thin liquid crystal displays (LCD’s) ushered in a revolution. The boxy, big CRTs suddenly gave way to elegant flat screens overnight. Apple’s original CRT-based iMac is regarded as an icon of industrial design, but iMac G4’s LCD is even more admired.

While LCD screens are still popular (you’re likely reading this on one), they’re being replaced by organic light-emitting diode (OLED) panels.

Despite the price of OLED screens, they deliver a deeper black than LCD screens (ideal for that sleek dark mode UI design) because each pixel emits its own light. Due to this pixel lighting, OLED displays are power efficient when showing darker colours.

In recent years, as screens have become brighter and technology has improved, complaints and concerns have increased. Dark mode UI designs have become increasingly popular due to concerns about eye strain.

The Effect on UI Design

In developing digital products and apps, we need to consider user preferences and latest mobile ui design trends. It is also essential, however, to utilize our time and resources efficiently. How valuable would it be to include a dark mode in an MVP app?

The use case will determine most of this. We’ve established that dark mode can sometimes make it hard to understand and type correctly. Therefore, it was not suitable for apps with big entry-error  consequences, such as online banking or tax regulation platforms.

Benefits of Dark Mode on UI

We all have moments when we are in the dark, and we open our phones or laptops and get blasted by the lights on them. This is where Dark Mode comes in handy. Additionally, it is useful for:

  • Saving battery power
  • Reducing sleep disturbances
  • Reducing eye-tiredness 
  • Providing accessibility for people with vision impairments or suffering through a migraine.

Each person will have their own preferences

User preference often dictates what’s best for them. The reason some people might prefer to use dark mode is not because they are concerned about their eyesight or battery life, it could also be based on aesthetic preference – they just like the way it looks.

Earlier this year, Apple, a company who traditionally controlled their products’ design with an iron fist, released iOS 14, which let users customize icons and widgets for the home screen. We may one day be able to create any theme we want when we don’t have to choose between light or dark modes.

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