Dark-Themed UI Design Tips

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Dark mode doesn’t just involve altering a backdrop. Explore the seven tips you must remember when designing a dark-themed user interface (UI).

The use of digital technology is increasing as technology continues to revolutionize. We spend almost 10 hours ever day sitting in front of a digital screen. Our lives have, in some ways, become easier due to the impressive development of different apps, websites, and digital gadgets. But as a result, many people also face health issues – a major one being deterioration of sight. So what can be done? Adding a dark mode option!

Seven Incredible Tips

One of the most requested features in digital media in recent years is dark mode. Dark mode has been deemed a requirement for UI by both Apple and Google. Reduced brightness in a dark environment offers safety and can reduce eye strain. You can opt for dark mode, but are you aware of the factors you must keep in mind?

Here we’ve shared seven tips you must remember when designing a dark-themed UI.

1. Avoid Saturated Colors

In contrast to dark surfaces, saturated colors can visibly vibrate, making them more difficult to read. Saturated colors can appear beautiful on bright surfaces. Desaturate primary hues to create adequate contrast with the black backdrop.

Use lighter colors (in the 200–50 range), as they are easier to read on surfaces with dark backgrounds. Lighter variations allow you to retain proper contrast without putting too much pressure on your eyes and without reducing the visual impact of the UI.

2. Dark Theme Doesn’t Mean #000000

Simply be mindful of not using pure black. How? You can use variations of black, such as those mixed with grey or other shades, to soften the contrast between the text and background. It makes information easily readable. Be careful, however, with how you play with these shades, as low contrasts can feel uncomfortable.

3. Don’t Overlook White Space

Screens usually get crowded with buttons, illustrations, videos, and other designs. Give your design some room to breathe so that your app won’t appear cluttered to a user. What we call an extra room is known as ‘white space’.

Dark mode also needs white space, and it looks better with some empty rooms. In fact, dark UIs need more space than white-toned themes.

4. Communicate Depth

Shadows behind shapes are frequently used in light themes to draw attention to an object. However, because there often isn’t enough contrast between a design feature and its shadow, shadows often don’t appear in dark mode.

Instead, you can simply apply a lighter fill for the things you want to appear higher to add depth. Drop shadows on dark backgrounds are unnecessary; let color do its work instead.

5. Use ‘On’ Colors for Text

‘On’ colors come on top of components and key surfaces. Usually, they are used for text.

Pure white (#FFFFFF) serves as a dark theme’s default ‘on’ color. However, since #FFFFFF is a vivid color, it might appear to ‘vibrate’ against black backgrounds. Google Material Design advises using a slightly darker white because of this.

  • Text with a lot of emphasis should have an opacity of 87%.
  • Text with medium emphasis is used at 60%
  • The opacity for disabled text is 38%

Keep in mind that light text on a darker background can look bold instead of being just dark on light. Therefore, you should use lighter font weights for dark mode.

6. Allow Users to Switch

Allowing your system to control when to turn on or off your dark theme is alluring. However, poor UX may result from this design decision. By delegating control to your system, you are neglecting your ability to make decisions in favor of the system.

Because of this, it’s preferable to avoid auto-enabling a dark theme. Allow users to activate (or deactivate) the dark theme using a UI control. Users should be allowed to choose a mode based on their requirements manually. The mode switcher needs to be positioned and designed.

7. Test In Light and Dark Both Appearances

Check out your UI in both settings and then tweak your designs to fit each one as necessary. Consider conducting incandescent lighting testing on your product after sunset.

Final Takeaway

Creating a dark theme involves more than just altering the backdrop. Colors can defeat your purpose if the contrast and spacing are off. Play around with the colors, the opacity of text, and the arrangement of your design pieces. It is your chance to experiment, to try and do wonders – as the experts in our team at Codment are also doing.