Dark Mode: Not For Me Either

Kev Quirk managed to get himself on the front page of the orange site for his post on Dark Mode. The topic even drew 511 comments, some of which seemed to take this as a personal affront to their lifestyle choices. Now you’ve done it.

Kev’s post was well researched and I learned a few things from it. Interestingly none of the reasons he cites for using light mode are reasons why I go light.

Here are the my two main gripes with Dark Mode:

Reflections

Do you know how to make a mirror? You put a dark color behind a glass surface. Dark mode is your device trying to be a mirror, and the result is reflections galore.

For a while the Guardian app had a bug that caused all articles to render in dark mode even with it disabled. This meant I couldn’t read the news outside in the morning. The strongly lit surroundings would be reflected in the article I was trying to read, forcing me to work twice as hard to follow a line of text.

Painful.

This bug has mercifully been fixed, and while there are still reflections on the tablet screen, it’s far less distracting than before.

Even in my office I seem to always catch sight of something behind me when looking at a dark UI on my iMac. It’s distracting for no good reason.

It makes me think of those fancy computers in SciFi flicks that have a transparent screen. Cool for a movie prop, but terrible UX in reality.

Some will argue dark mode should be used when it’s, you know, dark. But unless you’re in a completely dark room I don’t see the point. And if you are you should probably put the phone down and go to sleep anyways. Sorry to preach.

Ghosts of Readings Past

There may be something wrong with my eyes but after reading light text on dark background the text lingers in my vision and dances around when I look at something else. It’s an uncomfortable feeling.

A lot of text editors come with dark themes enabled by default. I tried it for a while but I just can’t stand it. Ghosts of code everywhere, I feel like I’m going crazy.

I realize I may have sensitive eyes. My wife and I play dimmer wars all the time: she turns them up and I turn them down.

I dim the screen on my iMac when my office gets dark. It’s very effective at reducing strain and is far less jarring than inverting of the brightness spectrum.

Keep it Light

I don’t care if people like dark mode. They may be biologically predisposed to enjoy it, they may work in a cave, and I’ll give them some credit: they probably turn it off when reading in sunlight.

But for me it’s light mode all the way.

This was post 23 of the #100DaysToOffload challenge.

Olivier Forget

Los Angeles, USA
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Aerospace Engineer turned sofware developer and bootstrappin' entrepreneur.