Why did I give up permanent dark mode?

I was addicted to it, today I avoid it most of the time. However, dark mode is not as good as I thought.

The dark theme has become pure madness

I remember times when dark themes started appearing in every app. At the time, I considered it a necessity and was very outraged that I wasn’t among the lucky group who could check out Night Mode on Facebook and Messenger before the premiere.

When it was available to everyone, I switched to dark mode without thinking – on the previously mentioned platforms Meta, Instagram, Slack, Telegram, Twitter, Snapchat, Discord…literally everywhere. This relieved me a lot then, I was convinced that my eyes were resting and that nothing better could happen to me.

I lived in this belief for the next few years. Later, there was a dark mode in the Google Chrome search engine that I use and all Google apps on my smartphone. Then iOS 13 introduced a system-wide dark theme. Of course, I thoughtlessly changed everything to dark mode.

Clash with reality

I was once discussing this with Kamil Świtalski, the editor of Antyweb, who said he had a completely different approach to the subject – he’s a strong dark mode skeptic, arguing that it definitely limits his creativity during during the day and only uses the light mode.

At first I was convinced that was far from the truth – and whether everything on my screen is white or black doesn’t really matter, especially when it comes to productivity and creativity. I proudly stated that I emerged victorious from this discussion and that the arguments presented are not true – even when programming in Eclipse the first step was also to enable the dark theme, which even many more experienced programmers recommend. Even the very first computers displayed green text on a black background – so how could this affect productivity?

Source: Unsplash @walling

The color display shift happened exactly in the 1980s, when companies like Xerox and the defunct CPT Corporation created word processors with a white screen and black text to mimic the look of the ink on paper. This solution imposed itself and remained until we finally had a choice.

The dark theme has even been advertised to save power on devices with OLED or AMOLED screens and cut out harmful blue light. According to many companies, dark mode improves visibility, reduces eye strain, and makes it easier to use the device in low-light conditions. After doing more research, it turns out that it’s not as colorful as some people describe it.

The topic bothered me and said conversation couldn’t get out of my head for the next few days, until I finally decided to check it myself – both on the phone and on the computer.

So I set up an automatic look that beat me with a bright pattern by morning. At first I was incredibly confused – white Twitter, Telegram or Messenger didn’t feel natural to me. However, the feeling of discomfort passed after two days. It only got better with every passing moment.

A dark theme affects productivity and creativity

After just one week of fellowship with a clear theme, I noticed a big difference in productivity and creativity – exactly what Kamil said and what I didn’t believe. When I saw a clear wallpaper when I opened my laptop and all of Slack and my browser glowed white, I felt much more energized.

Turns out it wasn’t just a feeling or a placebo after researching this topic, and the facts – after long-term use of dark mode, our body gets used to less light, then reacts badly to a large amount of bright light. However, this is not a permanent problem and can be solved by more frequent exposure to white light. Even though it gave me a bit of a headache at first, summa summarum, I’m glad I made that decision.

Source: Unsplash @vmxhu

It has also been scientifically proven that blue waves are beneficial during the day as they help improve a person’s mood, and a bright mood can maintain mental alertness and reduce myopia in children. I observe among my friends that I’m not the only one completely lost in dark themes – now I know from autopsy that it’s not as big as it looks.

In the evening, I always switch to dark mode, the laptop screen changes color slightly to increase the comfort of night work. However, using dark mode everywhere and constantly can affect us in surprising ways – and while I didn’t believe it a month ago, I now urge you to make such a decision. You will be surprised at how your body reacts after just a few days.

Featured Image: Daniel Korpai for Unsplash

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