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Over the past 18 months i have noticed that a lot of twitter bootstrap admin and other themes with left nav bars are now using a black or dark blue colour.

e.g. https://wrapbootstrap.com/themes/admin

I have also seen other sites such as Quickbooks, Salesforce & Microsoft Azure adopt this colour scheme.

What benefit does having a darker colour give over having a lighter one? Is it just to make the website look more fancy or does it improve usability at all?

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It might be just a matter of trend. But using dark background for navigation elements, like the left or top sidebars, and light background for the content gives focus on the content.

So the contrast differentiates the parts of the site and the light over the dark stands out so it gives focus to the content.

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  • i agree with you Alvaro, the light color background give user a focus to the contents, and I think the dark color for the left nav bar also has strong contribution for visual weight in overall view. – Rob H. Yamin Dec 26 '16 at 15:16

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