I’m playing around with the idea of a dark mode for my app.

I’d like to simply honor the operating system settings but I know there’s been situations I’ve personally been very happy some apps allow an app level override. My situation is I don’t have a place for settings in my app and building it for this seems silly.

Any research done on this and what users have come to expect?


It depends on your content. Dark mode can enhance usability if your content is color critical. If your content is rich in graphs and numbers, then dark mode does enhance the data. Here's a good article with an image to show how Dark UX can enhance statistics (green increases and red decreases are much more obvious):

https://observer.com/2019/03/dark-mode-app-trend-psychological-effects enter image description here

If you have a blog that simply feeds articles to read, then dark mode is not a better design, it may even contribute to eye strain. Here's a good read in which Susanne Mayr, a researcher at the University of Passau who focuses on human-computer interaction, resulted in several tests that

“In all of our studies, participants were better performing in the positive polarity condition,” says Mayr. “They detected more errors and/or read faster when dark text was presented on a light background than under reversed conditions.”


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    Thank you. These are some really good reads. – Bill Criswell Nov 19 '19 at 14:32
  • You specifically asked, 'what users have come to expect?' That is considerate of you to think of your users. But as a UX Designer, I stick to the science. Design choices can be measured with proper user testing. Great question though. Imagine a few years from now and see if Dark Mode is still a trend? If you appreciate my answer, how about marking it as an Answer ;) – jhurley Nov 19 '19 at 14:45
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    Would you be able to include some relevant snippets from those articles? Links often break after a period of time, and this would help to preserve the important details, as well as allow your answer to stand on its own. – maxathousand Nov 19 '19 at 14:58

I think changing your application theme based on system preferences is not a bad deal for users. in iOS 13 light/dark toggle is in control center which is easy accessible. But about users have iOS 12 or below seems a bad idea. I guess the answer is about your users and their iOS operation version!

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