Light-Mode vs Dark-Mode: The Web Design and Development Debate

Jessica Kent

Over the last few years, web designers and development agencies are seeing more and more businesses request a “dark mode” feature for their websites. Since two of the biggest tech giants, Apple and Google, have implemented a dark theme as an essential part of their User Interface, it hasn’t taken long for others to follow suit.

In today’s modern world, it can be tough to find much of anything that people agree upon these days. And the same applies to user experience (UX) design. It seems that everyone within the web design and development industry has an opinion on the subject of light mode vs dark mode. But why the sudden surge? What are the benefits of dark mode? And which one is better for eCommerce websites?

Most eCommerce sites, including Amazon and eBay, use bright white backgrounds with high-contrast black text as the backbone of their UX design. But since 2020 (or iOS versions 13.0 and beyond) brands are giving their users the option to switch to dark mode backgrounds with virtually no pure white or blue tones.

Whether you’re working with a design agency to upgrade an app’s interface in dark mode, considering dark mode emails, or looking to boost your online sales with a new website, it seems that dark mode is a new factor to consider in your final design.

Below, we’ll explore what dark mode is, the pros of switching and how you can implement a switched-up interface.


What is Dark mode?

If you’re unsure what Dark-Mode is, then fear not as we will reveal it all. Sometimes known as black or night mode, dark-Mode is a light-on-dark colour scheme used on apps, social media platforms and websites. Essentially, this darker feature is a colour scheme that uses light-coloured text, icons, and user interface elements on a dark or black background.

Google Trends data show that worldwide searches for dark mode web design began to rise in late 2018 and peaked in October 2019, aligning with the implementation of iOS versions 13.0 and beyond. Since the launch of this feature in Apple, a lot of popular apps and platforms have adopted some sort of dark mode as an optional browsing experience. This design and development functionality has proven popular with many users around the world with over 80% of Mac users opting for Dark-Mode by 2020.

“82.7% of participants had used dark mode on their devices” Medium Survey

Interestingly though, even with so many social platforms and apps adopting the trend, there aren’t many examples of eCommerce stores offering a dark mode theme. This is in stark ‘contrast’ to app developers and social platforms who’ve been rushing to create Dark-Mode versions of their interfaces for what feels like ages. Global brands such as Google Docs, Instagram, WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter, and Slack are all offering this new level of functionality yet the trend doesn’t seem to be shaking the eCommerce world as harshly as everyone else.


What are the benefits of dark mode?

The rich nature of the app design and development ecosystem means that there’s no one-size fit’s all solution when it comes to UX. Industry, colour pallets, functionality and interface features all come into play when picking the light or dark format and this sometimes results in a stressful or garish experience at best on apps that do not natively support it. Dark or night mode interfaces are often seen as dramatic, stylish, elegant and can reinforce striking visuals.


Dark mode can reduce eye strain

Consumers, web designers and developers all claim that dark mode is easier on the eyes. In our digital world, we spend so much time on our phones or in front of a screen that our eyes are often affected. Dark mode isn’t exactly a blessing for our eyes, it does reduce the strain on our eyes and reduces the amount of blue light we are in contact with.

“Dark mode successfully cuts glare and reduces blue light, both of which help your eyes. However, dark mode isn’t for everyone, and in some cases, it can actually cause more vision problems than solutions.” – All about vision


Unique design

If you have a large or complicated interface then making the switch to a dark or night design can be a bit of an undertaking. Picking a colour pallet that ensures a balanced contrast, all the while maintaining a consistent and luxurious look & feel is easier said than done. But well well worth it.

Dark mode is about a lot more than just inverting white to black. Design Agencies and UX designers love making the switch as it allows you to play around with the colours, shadows and additional elements. A dark mode design helps web designers achieve a strong, dramatic look for striking visuals.


Improving battery life

According to some studies, dark mode is one of the contributing factors to improving the battery life of your chosen device. Of course, there are a number of variables to consider when discussing battery life but it has been suggested that iPhone batteries, on devices with an OLED screen, can be extended by up to 30%. Based on research conducted by tech giants and engineers alike, battery life can be improved by anywhere from 1.8% to 23.5% depending on the app you’re using.


Switching to night mode with a web design and development company

There’s a clear desire for websites that offer a tailored user experience, as users want to consume websites in a format of their own choosing. Dark-Mode is becoming ever more popular with users across the board.

If you choose to work with a web designer or digital agency to create dark-coloured interfaces, you will ensure that you can build something beautiful and bold. As you can see, there’s no simple or definitive answer to the question “is dark mode a good thing?” but there are certainly benefits and it is growing ever popular. If you are struggling to determine whether it is suitable for your brand, then a design agency could help.

Reach out to our UX designers or development team to get some website recommendations from the experts.

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