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Every article like this ignores the fact that Dark Mode is a fantastic accessibility feature if you have a vision impairment that results in ghosting/blurring/light-sensitivity. Features like "Dark Mode" are not about brightness, but contrast.

I'm all for giving people the option. Assuming everyone is able is a crux of UI/UX design.




> Features like "Dark Mode" are not about brightness, but contrast.

Exactly.

Something that the article doesn’t seem to pick up on is how we read and dark modes effect on that depends on what we’re reading. (The musician example doesn’t quite do it justice).

AKAIK We see the shapes of words first, then some of the letters, then we understand the word. Hence why if y-u blank -ut s-me /etters, y-u can sti// read a sentence.

I find light on dark easier to navigate with code because the “shapes” are easier to determine.

Code is highly structured - even different variable names have different shapes.

Having said that...

Reading a full on research paper or something has to be dark on light for me. I’m reading something with less structure, where the words are one after the other.

So... yeah. It’s context and task dependent. So it’s a good thing there’s a choice.


This is a very good point, personally I do not like dark mode (but have used it for many years as a developer, before swapping back). But the OPTION for a user to display a page in dark mode is absolutely not a 'dark side'.

Optional settings are the beauty of software, they shouldn't be shunned but encouraged.


The reason options are often shunned is that they exponentially increase the complexity. Every option needs to work with every other combination of options. Testing this can be very time consuming especially if it doesn't lend itself to automation.

I'm not arguing against options but I am saying options come with a cost so the benefit has to be deemed to be worth the maintenance burden.


Wholeheartedly agreed! We always need to look at stuff from both angles and I forgot just how complicated adding new features can be (even if they are 'simple' changes, Chaos theory comes into mind.)


This is exactly correct. I have an astigmatism which causes chromatic abberation. Specifically, the B in RGB is usually out of focus when the R is in focus, although I can actually force my eyes to focus on the B and cause the opposite to occur.

This has been exacerbated by my recent "graduation" to progressive glasses. For whatever reason these seem to cause their own chromatic abberation issues.

Dark mode actually makes the fringing a bigger problem, but I configure everything not to use blues significantly and so it overall makes things more readable for me.


You might've looked at this already, but you can use a program called f.lux to globally change the color temperature of your screen. It's intended to eliminate blue light to make it easier to sleep, but it's highly configurable and in your case it might help with readability.


f.lux is super helpful. I'd rather look at black text on a configurably-dark red-tinted background than have to invert everything. Especially because I don't only look at a text editor all day. Not every program has dark mode for all its text, and f.lux is a global solution. It's also great that it has a timer built in so you can go darker as evening approaches.


This basic feature is also in most OS's now labeled as "blue light filter" or "night mode".


Is it? Because I’m fairly nearsighted and have astigmatism, which can make text on screens very blurry when there is a low contrast, and it’s a lot worse with dark mode.

Still, I agree that having both a light and a dark mode is better than having just one of them.


For many users high contrast is enhanced when it's dark. See Windows High Contrast Mode as an example.


For me it’s also about decluttering the UI (for want of a better term). Dark mode lets the UI get out of the way, especially if the actual workspace or content remains light. The MacOS mail client is a decent enough example - you can have dark UI but still render the email as light on dark.


You mentioning that reminded me that iOS and macOS don't have a high-contrast mode like what Windows has had literally for decades.


What do you mean by “like what windows has had”? iOS and OS X have an accessibility setting to increase contrast, but maybe that’s different from how you expect it to look.


OSX has an "increase contrast" mode, a contrast slider, and an invert colors option (among others) in the Accessibility preferences, and has for quite some time.


Err, both iOS/macOS have extended accessibility features, including high contrast mode and controls.




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