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Hello guys so I was wondering if there was a particular reason or study/research of why was Dark Theme created. What's the value for the user of having a Dark Theme UI?

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Here are some positive benefits of dark mode.

  • Dark UI is said to reduce eye strain.
  • Dark backgrounds used in UI is said to consume less energy on OLED screens.
  • When using Dark UI in low light environments it could minimise others nearby from getting disturbed by the glare from your phone (e.g. aircrafts and movie theatres)
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    It consumes less energy only on OLED, MiniLED and MicroLED panels because their individual pixel brightness can differ. So for example a black image would leave the pixels off (OLED) or very dim (MiniLED and I think MicroLED).
    – Noodles
    Aug 13, 2020 at 11:12
  • point 3: not just others but the user as well, if in a dark room or not wanting to lose dark-adaptation (e.g. satnav)
    – Chris H
    Sep 23, 2020 at 12:32
  • There's little scientific evidence demonstrating the benefit of dark mode, as suggested by some of the other answers.
    – aventurin
    Apr 11, 2021 at 14:40
  • @aventurin have you seen much research in this area? Even if there aren't formal research, the fact that this is being implemented in many standard operating systems and web applications suggests that we should be looking to demonstrate the value of this feature and perhaps try to optimize it if it is not providing the benefit that people suggest it has.
    – Michael Lai
    Apr 12, 2021 at 1:17
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What's the value for the user of having a Dark Theme UI?

There is not much value when it comes to user performance.

Benefits

  • Improved battery life on some screens
  • Throwing off less ambient light in low light settings (dark movie theater, hospital at night, soldier looking at watch at night)
  • Also, there may be longterm health perks such as avoiding myopia.
  • In Legge’s study, each of the 7 participants with cloudy ocular media had better reading rates with dark modes. *from NG group article

Let's look at some misconceptions about dark mode performance.

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  • Users make quicker decisions (lower bar) with light mode whether its during daytime or nighttime as per the NG Group research.
  • "In users with normal vision, light mode leads to better performance most of the time."
  • Although light mode was better for older adults, too, they did not benefit from it as much as younger adults, at least in the visual-acuity task.
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  • +1 It seems like the jury is still out on exactly how beneficial the dark mode/theme is, but for the sake of accessibility and inclusive design there should probably at least be an option for the user to choose what 'feels' better for them. There has also been discussions about how the use of a 'light' grey compared to 'pure' white background can help reduce the glare on the screen when black text is used for better readability. I am interested in for research and questions in these topics :)
    – Michael Lai
    Apr 12, 2021 at 1:22
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To add to Ameen Akbar's answer, Customization is another key benefit.

Allowing user's option to customize their products let's them feel in control and give them a sense of ownership of the product.

NN Group Article on Benefits of Customization

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The question is really why was Light Theme ever created. Computer screens are (mostly) emitted light, not reflected light. Throughout all of history, emitted light technologies used Dark Theme, most notably movies and signage. Think how annoying movie credits would be in Light Theme. Initially computers used Dark Theme. Then someone decided that because most people were doing word processing, that the screen should look like a physical piece of paper, and bingo, Light Theme was born. Dark Theme is just a return to an appropriate form for emitted light technologies.

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    Interesting point. Old computer terminals were a green 'dark theme', and 'light themes' only came with the introduction of the Apple Mac. superuser.com/questions/361297/…
    – PhillipW
    Sep 21, 2020 at 7:21

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