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Luis Augusto
Luis Augusto

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Light Mode or Dark Mode, which do you prefer?

Do you put all of you apps in dark mode if possible? Do you think every website should have an option for this, or at least integrate with your device's settings, such as with the prefers-color-scheme CSS property? Is your IDE an exception to your preference?

I thought it would be interesting to hear what others have to say. I do try to put everything in dark mode, including my IDE, and for some devices with OLED screens, that means better battery performance. Some people I talk to mention that it's harder to read text with dark backgrounds and could affect accessibility. While it's great to always have the options, that means extra work for the UI designers to create a secondary color scheme for it.

Facebook has jumped on the bandwagon with their new design, as well as YouTube and a plethora of apps which have had it for years. What are your thoughts?

Top comments (20)

sarajohn profile image

My personal opinions are quite mixed up. I think white mode makes the text and content on a page quite visible but it does put a lot of stress on eyes as compared to black mode which looks classic and less heavy on eyes.

I think this decision also matters with the emotions we have towards these two alternatives.
We have been using a white mode since our childhood so who are attached to their childhood memories a lot would think that the conventional screen color is good to continue and there sin;t any such reason to change it. On the other hand people who like adventure and love to try new things would consider the darker screen as something very classic having a charismatic effect so they would prefer it.

Honestly, I believe that its the emotional importance that we give to each which determines which mode would be consistent

moopet profile image
Ben Sinclair

"We" might have been, but it's more generational than that. I grew up using light text on dark backgrounds and never really got on board with this whole GUI trend for doing it the other way!

gwutama profile image
Galuh Utama • Edited

Light theme. Dark theme is cool and all but I prefer to avoid it for practical reasons. Here's why:

I'm not in my early 20s anymore. so my eyes aren't that great anymore.

Most dark themes have low contrast that my eyes can't perceive well anymore. Having a bright(er) ambient light in my room helps me to keep my eyes healthier. I think everyone needs to take good care of their eyes, no?

Switching back and forth between dark theme in IDE and mostly light themes of websites is actually very straining for my eyes. Yes, I know, there are some browser extensions that can convert light to dark themes. But I avoid them because they are known to drain my laptop battery.

I commute every day and so I don't have control over the ambient light. In the morning, when the sun shines, I find it quite terrible to use dark theme due to its low contrast so I need to crank up the brightness, which will drain my battery significantly quick. Here's light theme FTW. Looks fine in a bright environment and saves battery.

Dark text on light background is natural for reading: see papers, books, etc.

I think some people I know say that light mode strains their eyes because 1) dark theme looks cool and they feel the need to follow the trends 2) they have bad monitors. Good monitors won't strain your eyes, that is if you don't crank the brightness all the way up.

Correct me if I'm wrong.

glyphcat profile image
GlyphCat • Edited

Dark theme +1.
Why? Because light attracts bugs! Get it? 😂

Actually I use light theme in certain scenarios like if I'm near a window where there's too much sunlight, I'll just switch to light mode to better adapt to the surroundings.

storytellercz profile image
Jan Dvorak

Dark theme all the way. I use computer all the day for pretty much everything and dark theme is easier on my eyes and I think on the monitor as well.

tatianacodes profile image

Can't use a black dark mode, kinda messes with my eyes. In VS Code I use a purple themed "dark mode" called Palenight. A lot easier on the eyes than white/bright text on a black or dark grey background.

marcusatlocalhost profile image

Light mode for everything[1]. I found I don't want to read longer articles in dark mode. I can't program with a dark color scheme, I just can't focus. I mean, paper is white, we are made to see when it's bright, and not when it's dark. But apparently many people like dark mode, so why not.
A good thing is a tool like f.lux I think that helps to be easy on the eyes.

[1] Twitter and one messenger is in dark mode, because I use it in bed :D

denisvalcke profile image

I will always stick with light themes everywhere. My phone is the only exception to save battery. My personal opinion is that my eyes get less tired by reading dark text on a light background. I tried dark themes but couldn't stick with them in the long run.

huncyrus profile image

Quite interesting. I would say, it is depends. Personally, I like dark~ish (solarized for example) especially, when there is not much light or way too much light around me.

What was way more interesting, two foudings:

  • One is, for dark theme, better to use slightly lighter fonts for design, to maintain readability
  • Peoples with poor sight or eye condition struggling with dark theme, so they better like high contrast, vivid or strong colors and accessible design (where you can set the size without sacrificing the site, app or software structure).
moopet profile image
Ben Sinclair

I disregard "dark mode" except where it's tied to lighting conditions or time of day.

"Dark mode" is a subset of "theme" and I choose the theme I prefer. For text reading that tends to be dark-on-light and for editing or chat it tends to be light-on-dark. Hosted SAAS I tend to use as dark-on-light and native applications the opposite. I guess I see code editors in the browser as more like "toys" and things not to trust (because of accidentally navigating away and losing work or losing a connection or what have you) and native programs as "real", so I associate the colours that way.

sfiquet profile image
Sylvie Fiquet

In general I don't like dark backgrounds with light writing, the contrast is too strong for me, it causes the text to be surrounded by a shiny halo so it's hard to read.

In some cases it's completely unreadable. I once followed a link to a tech blog post written in bright green on a black background, I couldn't leave the page fast enough.

I do get the argument about eye fatigue and eventually I switched to a dark theme on my IDE. It took me a while to find a suitable one though, most have too much contrast.

Similarly I tried DEV's themes and, nope, I'll stick to the light theme, thank you very much.

What you do is up to you but if you impose dark mode on everybody you will lose users.

databits profile image

As a software engineer for 20 years, dark theme has been the most comfortable for my eyes, morning or night. Perhaps due to sensitivity to white or bright colors, but for me it's much more comfortable to program in any IDE in dark mode. Even my phone, Google Hub, all devices I own, always #DarkTheme

mlkrsrc profile image
Mustafa ilker Sarac

For desktop and laptops I go for light; high contrast, better readability, nicer designs. If my eyes hurt I just dim the screen brightness to a more comfortable level. For mobile, screens are designed for better outside use in sunny days. So they do not dim enough for using just before sleeping. Then I would go for darker themes on my mobile devices.

crypyorenegade profile image

Dark mode at all times

aakriti_1012 profile image

I like both, light in day time and dark in night. But overall, dark >> light.

drawcard profile image

I run everything in dark mode, I get migraines if I don't.

I'm also a big fan of Night Shift and use that pretty heavily at night.

luisaugusto profile image
Luis Augusto

I love night shift, I use that in my phone as well! Makes it so much easier to look at a screen at night.