Sudhanshu Gautam

Brief report on Dark UIs ft. What people think


You might not know what I mean by the term Dark UIs, but probably have seen them. They have started popping out more often then ever, and the most common ones are: Youtube Dark Mode, Mac OS Mojave Dark Mode and Reddit Dark Mode. 

This post is an attempt to understand more about the concept of using Dark UIs. Actually, I conducted a survey to understand user behavior while looking at a partical user interface of an app or a website. The findings are further consolidated in this post. 

If you still don't get the concept of dark UIs, here is an example of Dark UI:


Why Dark UIs?

There are two things that are truly certain(and proven) when it comes to Dark UIs:

  • Better for eyes: For apps like Netflix, Instagram, Facebook, Youtube, Whatsapp and more with a very high duration of usage per day (more than 30mins each) can benifit (Youtube, Netflix feature a Dark UI already and Whatsapp is roumored to have one soon) from Dark UIs. It is scientifically proven that Blue light is the most harmful light for human eyes. Dark UIs feature a darker background (towards black side of spectrum) which has the lowest amount of Blue component in it. Hence, lesser fatigue while constantly staring at your mobile screen.
  • Dark is elegant: Furthermore, if we look at darker designs, we notice that they are classy and elegant. Look at MasterClass's UI for instance, it is classy, elegant and a hell lot of premium. 

These are the main benifits of having a Dark UI, while minor advantages follows: 

  • Consumes less power: In handheld devices featuring OLEDs, the pixels showing the darker colors are shut off (partially or completely) in order to show darker colors. 
  • Use of multiple colors with great readability: Designers can use multiple colors for text while preserving the readability, which is not possible on lighter backgrounds.


Why "I think" dark UIs are not always good?

Though the statements I provide are supported by a Survey conducted by me which stated that when people look at a UI, they look at the visual appeals rather than the usability issues that might occur in future. And there is another fact which I can state, being a designer, is that Dark UIs are harder to implement because the choice of colors that can be used are harder to find for a brand.

But I do think that if a product's screen time for an average is a lot, then Dark UIs are worth a shot. 

Psychologically speaking, people don't get a good vibe about a product if it is dark.

This statement was further backed by the survey.

Lastly, Dark UI is a feature.

If you are creating a product, don't make the mistake of making your app entirely in Dark UI. Give a clearly visible, yet non-obstrusive, toggle for the users to toggle the Dark & the Ligher UI. 

The reason being the psychological effect one gets while landing on your product.


That's all for this post, if you want more such content then subscribe to this blog's mailing list.

If you want more details about the results of the survey or comments or any suggestions, then feel free to mail me at [email protected]

Posted at: 2019-02-14