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WritingCode

What is your opinion on websites with dark themes?

autoferrit profile image Shawn McElroy ・1 min read

For the longest time, I never liked websites, especially personal or blogging sites, that had a dark theme. They all looked terrible. Looking back I am sure they probably had way too high of contrast with white text with pitch-black backgrounds. But I can't pull them up so I don't remember details.

All I remember for years was that dark themes were mostly terrible. Even more so for personal blogs.

Today, I feel like I could be swayed on that decision. I have been using the dark theme for DEV and I like it, despite the fact I think there could be some subtle improvements (I am not a designer so I may not be the right to ask what those would be). But with the changes in making editors dark themed, browsers, terminals, discord, and many more; I feel like dark themes could have a better chance.

But that feeling is hard to shake.

Why do you think that dark themes are good (despite light text on dark background supposedly being easier on the eye)? Dark themes also have the problem of being harder to see in bright light, usually on phones/tablets when outside.

So how would you change my mind on dark themes on sites being terrible? What are sites that have great themes with good visibility of the content? And why do they always feel so much worse for a personal blog, product, or marketing sites (I used to work for a company with a dark themed marketing site and nobody internally liked it)?

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Shawn McElroy

@autoferrit

I am a product engineer and have helped build software from small startups, to manipulating hundreds of millions of data points. I write API's and make tools that make developers lives easier.

WritingCode

Doing my best to learn and build modern applications and tools and teach others what I know. I love to write tools and applications to help others, especially in my field, or those less fortunate. Eventually, hoping to solve bigger problems.

Discussion

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We may need to think separately about UX and Design just for this time.

Dark themes are usually considered more elegant, sober, serious, sometimes it is even related to luxury than any other colour. This is, of course, a social convention such as red for violence and orange for activity.

So it is quite hard to make a generalization. I think it depends a lot on what your site is about and what it wants to inspire in the user.

I don't feel like there is anything to make you change your mind about. It is a matter of personal preferences. I am currently using the dark theme as well. I feel like it puts a lot more emphasis in the content than any other. But I keep changing it all the time. Light theme allows me a more relaxed reading.

However, in general terms, I always prefer long reads with a light background.