In recent years, “dark mode” or “night mode” has become one of the main and constant features of most devices with displays. This feature is especially popular with smartphones, and many smartphone makers have included dark mode in their personalized Android user interface. The same rule applies to the most popular apps in the Google Play Store and Apple App Store, and almost all popular apps support the dark mode.
Dark mode is often advertised as a magic button that can reduce vulnerability and eye fatigue; Help you sleep better at night, solve the problem of global hunger (!) And so on. Do you think all of these claims are true or are we still facing a fleeting fashion that does more harm than good? Stay tuned to Wironal to learn more about the dark mode and its advantages and disadvantages.
What is dark mode?
Although the color spectrum may be different in this definition, dark mode is a mode in which the user interface displays light text and elements on a dark background. In contrast, light mode, which is a more common mode, displays dark text on a light background.
Perhaps surprisingly, the dark state emerged decades before the light state. At its core, the dark state was not a deliberate solution, but a byproduct of technological capabilities in the early days of subsidies. In the early days of personal computers, we had monochrome displays equipped with phosphor cathode ray tubes, and the phosphor inside these monitors was normally dark. The phosphors in these displays only came on when an electron beam hit them. These monochrome displays, as their name suggests, were capable of displaying only one color, which varied depending on the type of phosphor used in them. The most common were green light monitors that used P1 green phosphor, but you could also go for amber phosphor displays, which were less desirable due to less eye strain and less light interference with the body’s circadian cycle, and even if you were lucky you could have a white phosphor Find 4.
At the same time, the software “encouraged” this dark state. When you think of older computers, you often think of the same vertical line of text prompt in green or white that flashes in the left-hand corner of the dark screen, which by default was the home screen of most 60s, 70s, and 80s computers. The first interfaces did not have many features and were dark by default.
It’s a little harder to tell when “bright mode” enters screens, but it can be linked to the Xerox PARC graphical user interface (which inspired Apple Macintosh and other operating systems at the time), which uses dark text and elements. Used on white backgrounds. This change is rooted in advances in display technology and new graphical user interfaces. More advanced multi-color displays became the forerunners of this “bright state” revolution.
With monitors capable of displaying sophisticated user interfaces as well as white, computer developers and designers decided to use the technology to simulate paper text, a way that made users more comfortable and made people feel more familiar when they first used computers. To experience. Technology must be friendly in order to succeed. With the growth of skeuomorphism in graphical user interfaces and closer simulation of images to their real state, the bright state was used more and the user interface elements as well as shadows became more natural.
Interestingly, just as advances in display technology led to the emergence of “bright mode”, the same advances in displays sparked a backlash for dark user interfaces, which, of course, we should be thankful for in OLED.
Dark mode in terms of usability
The dark mode is stylish and up-to-date, there is no doubt about it. Although legibility is not as clear as it sounds, they have dark charismatic interfaces associated with courage, formality, expertise, mystery, power, luxury, and so on. Simply put, all of these features are very desirable, especially in marketing. However, black is a powerful color that causes strong emotions in people and if it is too much, it can easily overwhelm a person.
Dark mode is especially useful when filling in certain types of content. Perhaps Spotify, Netflix, and Steam (or, as I like to call them, The Lazy Trilogy) are some of the most popular apps and services designed for the dark. Why? Because they want to catch your eye with thumbnails of albums, movies and games. The dark mode highlights the contents in a way that the light mode does not.
However, designing a good dark user interface is difficult. One of its biggest problems is blurring. Darkness causes us to open our pupils more, which reduces the sharpness of the image. In contrast, the bright state causes our pupils to shrink, as a result of which we receive more radiance and the sharpness increases. Yes, the camera aperture works the same way, the wide-aperture receives more light but clearly does not make the aperture smaller. This is why dark text on a white background is clearer to our eyes.
Another issue to consider is a work called “creating an aura” that annoys visually impaired users when they use the dark mode. Although creating halos is a bigger problem with color gradients, it also affects high-contrast text. Creating a halo makes the white text wash out and blend in with the black background to make it look much darker than it really is. This is especially true for people with astigmatic or myopic eyes.
Read the text below. Even if your vision is 20/20, you can still see halos around the white text on a black background. At the same time, you will most likely not see any halo or blur in the image on the left, black text on a white background.
This effect is most noticeable when using a thinner font.
You will probably see halos in the image to the right and see the letters blend in with the black background. This effect of “creating a halo” is intensified especially if you have astigmatism. For such people, the dark state is not suitable and can actually cause more fatigue. Creating a halo in the bright state is much less and that is why this state is recommended for people with visual impairments.
Dark state is abnormal
Numerous scientific studies and estimates over the years have concluded that the human brain is prone to detect dark images in the light background. It is argued that the reason for this lies in our evolution as a species: our species, the wise man, has existed for at least 200,000 to 300,000 years, and in 99% of cases our ancestors were active during the day (we are a species of the day). ). It is accepted that early humans lived in the tropical grasslands (savannas) of Africa, and what do we know about these grasslands? True, brighter backgrounds and darker objects with heavier shadows. In this way, the brain of the primitive wise man had to evolve in such a way that, with the help of image contrast, it could quickly and efficiently detect food, useful tools, dangerous predators, and other objects in the background.
Do you need more documents? Let’s say that the first known examples of human art, prehistoric cave paintings around the world, are good examples of people saying they prefer the dark. By Google “Cave” you will quickly see that our artist ancestors also preferred to shoot dark objects in a light background, for the simple reason that they saw the world around them this way. In these paintings, buffaloes, mammoths, horses, lions, rhinos and even other humans are dark subjects drawn with charcoal on a lighter background. The most interesting to me are the cave paintings of the Cave in France, which date back to 30,000 to 28,000 years ago. These paintings are so skillfully drawn that if you put them in a museum of modern art they might find fans.
If our eyes do not recognize the slight contrast between two objects, they become completely useless. Our eyes are much more sensitive to slight differences of contrast than they are to light, to the extent that we recognize two objects of indistinguishable contrast as one object. Contrast is so important that without it we can not see the world in three dimensions.
But wait, if contrast is really that important, why not have both high-light text on a dark background and dark text on a light background? Of course they have, but scientific studies have shown that the human brain works much better in the face of positive contrast than negative contrast.
In science, light text on a dark background, the same state we call the dark state, is called negative contrast. Also, dark text on a light background, the same light state, is called positive contrast. A 2007 study by E. Bachner and M. Bamgartner argues that positive contrast when it comes to speed, concentration, and optimal reading of the human brain are activities that are widely used in our digital lives today. After all, most of what we do with our smart devices involves reading and writing text.
There is a very good reason for this, the white text in the dark background is unnatural for us because it is very different from the texts printed on paper.
In a series of experiments, the productivity of sampling in positive contrast (dark text on a light background) was consistently better than in negative contrast (light text on a dark background). This advantage was a positive contrast, independent of ambient light (darkness or normal work environment light) and the color of ambient light (black versus blue and yellow). The final experiment showed that color contrast (red text on a green background) could not neutralize the lack of luminous contrast.
Another study shows that positive contrast has a much greater advantage when reading smaller texts. This study says that this is true of all monitors used to display information, but it is most evident in modern phones as the most common text and media interface.
And these are not even all the studies that have compared the positive and negative contrasts. Tinker (1963), Riddle (1980), Bavar and Kavonius (1980), Kashman (1986), Gould et al. (1986) and many others have concluded in their studies that the human brain enjoys faster readability and Prefers dark text on a light background.
Why is the dark state good for your eyes?
A scientific report entitled “Reading and Myopia: The Importance of Contrast Contrast” by Andrea C. Alman, Min Wang, and Frank Schaffel has been published on the Nature site, examining the effects of contrast contrast on the human eye and concluding that negative contrast ( Dark state) In contrast to the light state, it causes much less damage to the human eye in the long run. The report states that the dark mode prevents myopia in your eyes, while the light mode accelerates myopia.
Myopia is currently the most common disorder in the United States, with more than 40 percent of adults suffering from nearsightedness and having to wear glasses or contact lenses to correct it. According to some scientific predictions, by 2050, half of the world’s population will be myopic, and this disorder will become the most common disorder worldwide. One of the implicit causes of myopia is the thinning of the choroid. The choroid is a thin layer 0.1 to 0.2 mm in diameter that is located above the retina and is responsible for transporting oxygen.
What is the connection between the dark state and choroid and myopia? To answer this question, we must look into our own eyes.
Notice the retina behind the human eye. As you probably know, the retina is the light-sensitive layer behind our eyes that receives light information that converts it into signals that are sent to your brain by the optic nerve. If you want a more modern comparison, if our brain is a camera, our retina is an image sensor and it does the hard part.
However, the retina is not a homogeneous layer of cells and is made up of different cell layers that pursue their own goals. The retina consists of six layers. You’ve probably heard of cylindrical cells, the cells that perform best in low light conditions, and the cone cells that are responsible for seeing colors.
To understand how the dark state helps protect our eyes, however, we need to take a deeper look at the farthest light-sensitive layer in the retina: the retinal ganglion cells. Ganglion cells are grouped in clusters with diverse physiological structures, called central receptors on ON structures, and peripheral receptors on OFF structures. According to Reading and Myopia: The Importance of Contrast Contrast, ON and OFF structures respond differently to white text on a dark background and dark text on a light background.
Black text on white paper contains large, bright areas that glow continuously. Neither ON nor OFF receivers have output in these areas. In black lines, however, we get more letters from the OFF receivers, because the darker central pixels of the receivers are, on average, surrounded by lighter pixels, creating a negative contrast. If we add the output of all receiver areas, the end result is “OFF overrun”. In light text, everything turns upside down on a dark background. In general, the closer the coefficient of light to dark is closer to one, the closer the excitation of the ON and OFF receptors are.
This study, in simple terms, represents the following findings:
- “On”, positive contrast (dark text on a light background) over-stimulates OFF ganglion cells and intensifies myopia.
- “Dark state”, a negative contrast (light text on a dark background) over-stimulates ON ganglion cells and prevents myopia.
So, what do we understand? Fortunately or unfortunately, the above report says that excessive stimulation of OFF ganglion cells causes the choroid to become thinner. On the other hand, excessive stimulation of ON cells, which occurs as a result of using the dark state, causes the choroid to thicken. The report states that over-one-hour stimulation of OFF cells caused the choroid to shrink by 16 microns, and one hour of white text reading in the dark increased the chin by 10 microns. Although these numbers may seem small to you, these small numbers can have a big impact on your vision.
As we mentioned, the thickness of the choroid is one of the first signs of myopia. It seems that a thin choroid stimulates myopia, and a thick choroid prevents it from intensifying. In other words, the dark state of your phone may not prevent myopia, but it will slow down your myopia. Texts that display dark letters in very bright backgrounds are likely to hurt your eyes the most.
The dark state of our phones
We mentioned that most smartphones are already in dark mode or that they will add this feature to their operating system by the end of the year. It is difficult to say who pioneered the move, but it can be attributed to the growing use of OLED displays. These screens, which were once very rare, now have most of the high-end phones, and it can be said that 9 out of 10 flagship phones are equipped with these screens. OLED screens have also found their way into mid-range handsets, and it won’t be long before we see that LCDs have been completely eliminated and replaced by OLEDs.
One of the most commonly asked questions by proponents of dark mode has nothing to do with readability, design, and prehistoric cave paintings, it saves battery power. Of course, the potential for battery saving on OLED displays cannot be underestimated; on these displays, when the black color is displayed, the display pixels are completely turned off, which saves battery power. This feature contrasts with the feature of LCD monitors, in LCD monitors it does not matter if you look at a white or black screen, in any case a constant amount of battery is used to turn on the screen.
If your phone has an OLED display, using dark mode on your phone’s operating system as well as enabling dark mode in your favorite apps may not double or triple your battery life, but you can expect to have about an hour more battery life. In some cases it is very useful.
Conclusion: Should you use the dark mode?
Yes, but you should also use the light mode.
Regardless of the evidence, studies and research available, using the dark mode is more of a personal choice than anything else. It does not matter what science tells us, if you are a fan of the dark mode, you will use this mode more anyway. If you are a fan of the on mode, it is still your choice.
I personally prefer the dark mode more. Dark mode is my default mode when viewing video or image, and I may even take some time to dim my favorite apps and websites. My daily audio-visual work follows the same rule, both Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Premiere support the dark mode and are my favorite mode, in which case the audio-visual content is more visible.
In addition to all this, I feel that most people misuse the dark mode. I admit I was wrong too. When dark mode was added to my favorite app, I turned it on and never turned it off. I later found out that it is better to use the dark mode at night, especially if you are dealing with content that is not very textual and readable. For example, watching a movie on Netflix, YouTube, or scrolling through your gallery, in other words, wherever there is no text, it should be done in the dark.
These days, I can decide when to use which mode, if I am going to read a long text, I use the clear mode for more readability. How do I do this? I usually switch between the two modes manually, but I also set a specific schedule to automatically turn the dark mode on and off at sunrise and sunset. If you go out in daylight, you will find that it is very difficult to read the text in the dark, on the other hand, when the ambient light is low, you should activate the dark mode to get less blinding light. Of course, dimming or adding a blue light filter to your screen can be very helpful.
Finally, is the dark mode a fleeting fashion or is it a necessary solution for certain situations? I feel a little bit of it and a little bit of it. Dark mode is a fleeting fashion that has some uses in the real world and therefore can be a good feature in today’s operating systems such as Android and Iowa.