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We are having discussions about redesigning our website (it’s a lot of work) and also going into dark mode. Some of the most high traffic areas of the site are currently in redesign (which does not include dark mode).

The UX choice is, do we just have these sections of the site redesigned and in dark mode, and then slowly redesign the rest of the site OR do we finish the redesign and then go dark mode site wide at once.

Has this split experience been done before? Is it a good or bad idea and why or why not?

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Don't do a split experience, because a mode isn't the same thing as a design theme; a mode is a setting that the user generally expects to persist until they make a choice to exit. Imagine if you turned Caps Lock on, and then went to a page where Caps Lock was ignored because the system wasn't set up to recognize it. The user would perceive that the system was broken and buggy.

In some cases, the system can eject a user from a mode against their will, but it is always communicated to the user with warnings and rules. (Example: Pac-Man's ghosts shift into Vulnerable Mode after Pac-Man consumes a Power Pellet, but they will blink when they are turning back, which warns the user.) The warning happens before the user experiences the loss of mode. I'm not sure it's a good experience to warn the user each time they're leaving Dark Mode; it would likely be distracting.

Turn on Dark Mode when your site is ready to have it as a site-wide setting.

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It's not a good idea. Production and engineering will probably have quite a bit of back and forth on designs. You don't want designers having to not only worry about screens but also be thinking of colour. It will make the process slower and encourage designers to take shortcuts.

For these reasons make sure you settle on a design and first, have the developers implement and then after all that is done, switch to designing dark mode.

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