Come to the dark side

Mike Taylor | 22 October 2019

Scrolling through cat memes at 3am? You’re not alone. 

Content never sleeps. And whilst our need for entertainment might, the urge to click, swipe’n’scroll is constantly fizzing at our fingertips. 

YouTube, Twitter, Kindle, Reddit, Twitter, Google maps. The titan brands have slowly but surely come over to the dark side. Surprise then, at Instagram, who despite it being one of their most requested features, have only just made the move – officially launching a new dark mode option for iOS 13 and Android 10

What is it?

It does what it says on the tin. But just in case – ‘dark mode’ is a dark colour scheme inside an app’s settings that lets users switch an app’s primary background colour to a darker hue. 

The feature makes the screen easier to see in low-ambient lighting, makes the page content shine while focusing on the interface, saves your eyes at night and could even help improve phone battery life. All in all, it’s a keeper. 

What’s the big deal?

According to Nielsen research group in 2018 Q1, we spend more than 11 hours per day on our devices. Is it a surprise many of us are dealing with eyes that feel dry or itchy? Or that we are a generation dealing with insomnia, headaches and back pain? 

Users want solutions – bad. And if your brand isn’t showing they care for well-being, consumers will remember. Bright screens cause strain. Strain causes stress. Stress is not something you want associated with your brand.

Why should brands be doing it?

Delivering the latest, in-demand features is how you hook new users. A user-friendly experience that listens to the wants and needs of your audience is how you keep’em.

Designing the dark mode version of your app will require time and effort – but this is time and effort worth investing in. This is a double up experience too – see it as a good opportunity to review your whole design library. Win, win. 

After all, it is only the cover of darkness, those moments of light can shine through.