Dark Mode Design: A Comprehensive Guide for Web Developers

Dark Mode Design: A Comprehensive Guide for Web Developers

At Blue Whale Media, we understand the importance of staying up-to-date with the latest design trends and techniques. One trend that has gained significant popularity over the past few years is dark mode design. Dark mode, also known as night mode or dark theme, refers to the use of a darker colour palette in user interfaces. Not only does it offer a visually appealing alternative to the traditional light mode, but it also has numerous benefits for user experience. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the growing popularity of dark mode, its impact on user experience, and provide insights into designing and implementing dark mode effectively.

The Popularity of Dark Mode:

Dark mode has become increasingly popular among users due to its aesthetic appeal and the numerous advantages it offers. Firstly, dark mode reduces eye strain, particularly in low-light environments, making it a preferred option for many users. Secondly, it saves battery life on devices with OLED screens, as fewer pixels need to be lit up. Lastly, dark mode has a sleek and modern appearance that many users find visually pleasing.

The Impact on User Experience:

Implementing dark mode can have a positive impact on user experience. Studies have shown that dark mode can improve readability by reducing glare and increasing text contrast. This is especially beneficial for users with visual impairments or those who spend extended periods reading on-screen content. In addition, dark mode can create a more immersive and focused experience, allowing users to concentrate on the content without distractions. The darker background also helps to highlight important elements and make them stand out, improving the overall usability of the interface.

Designing Dark Mode Effectively:

When designing dark mode, it is important to consider both aesthetics and usability. Here are some key considerations:

  1. Colour Palette: Choose a colour palette that complements the overall branding and style of your website. Dark mode doesn’t necessarily mean using only black and white. Experiment with different shades and tones to create a visually appealing and engaging design.
  2. Contrast: Ensure that there is enough contrast between the text and the background to maintain readability. Use lighter shades for text and important elements to make them stand out against the dark background.
  3. Consistency: Maintain consistency throughout your website by using dark mode consistently across all pages and sections. Inconsistent use of dark mode can confuse users and disrupt the overall user experience.
  4. Accessibility: Pay attention to accessibility considerations when designing dark mode. Ensure that the colour contrast meets accessibility standards, and consider providing an option for users to switch between dark and light modes based on their preferences or needs.
  5. Testing: Test your dark mode design on different devices and screen sizes to ensure that it looks and functions as intended. Consider conducting user testing to gather feedback and make necessary improvements.

Implementing Dark Mode:

Once you have designed your dark mode, it is important to implement it effectively. Here are some tips for implementation:

  1. User Preference: Provide an option for users to switch between dark and light modes based on their preferences. This allows users to customise their experience and choose the mode that suits them best.
  2. System Preference: Consider allowing your website to automatically switch to dark mode based on the user’s system preference. Many operating systems and browsers now have a system-wide dark mode setting, and users may expect websites to follow suit.
  3. Toggle Switch: Include a toggle switch or button that allows users to easily switch between dark and light modes. This should be easily accessible and clearly visible on your website, so users can switch modes with just a click.
  4. Smooth Transition: Ensure that the transition between dark and light modes is smooth and seamless. Sudden and jarring transitions can be distracting and disrupt the user experience. Use CSS transitions or animations to create a gradual transition.
  5. Save User Preference: If a user chooses a specific mode, remember their preference and apply it consistently across their visits to your website. This helps to provide a personalised experience and reduces the need for users to switch modes repeatedly.

Benefits of Dark Mode:

Dark mode offers several benefits for both users and businesses. Here are some key advantages:

  1. Improved Readability: Dark mode reduces eye strain and improves readability, particularly in low-light environments. This can enhance the overall user experience and encourage users to spend more time on your website.
  2. Energy Efficiency: Dark mode can help to save battery life on mobile devices with OLED or AMOLED screens. These screens use less power to display dark pixels compared to light pixels. By implementing dark mode on your website, you can contribute to a more energy-efficient user experience.
  3. Visual Appeal: Dark mode has become increasingly popular due to its sleek and modern aesthetic. Implementing dark mode on your website can give it a stylish and sophisticated look, attracting users who appreciate this design trend.
  4. Accessibility: Dark mode can improve accessibility for users with visual impairments or sensitivity to bright lights. By providing a dark mode option, you ensure that your website is inclusive and accessible to a wider range of users.
  5. Brand Differentiation: Implementing dark mode can also help your business stand out from competitors. While many websites still predominantly use light backgrounds, incorporating dark mode can make your website memorable and unique.

Considerations for Dark Mode Design:

When designing dark mode for your website, there are a few important considerations to keep in mind:

  1. Contrast: Ensure sufficient contrast between text and background to maintain readability. Light text on a dark background or vice versa can provide a clear and legible reading experience.
  2. Colour Palette: Choose a suitable colour palette for your dark mode design. Consider using shades of grey or other dark colours to create a visually appealing and cohesive look.
  3. Icons and Graphics: Adjust the colours of icons and graphics to ensure they are visible and easily distinguishable in dark mode. Use lighter colours or add subtle highlights to make them stand out.
  4. Consistency: Maintain consistency between your light and dark mode designs. Use the same layout, typography, and overall style to provide a seamless experience for users when switching between modes.
  5. User Preference: Allow users to easily switch between light and dark mode based on their personal preference. Providing a toggle switch or a menu option can allow users to customise their viewing experience.
  6. Testing and Feedback: Test your dark mode design on different devices and screen sizes to ensure it is working effectively. Seek feedback from users to understand their experience and make any necessary adjustments.

Implementing Dark Mode on Your Website:

Now that you understand the advantages and considerations of dark mode design, let’s discuss how you can implement it on your website effectively.

  1. CSS Media Queries: Use CSS media queries to detect the user’s preferred colour scheme and apply the appropriate styles accordingly. This allows your website to automatically switch between light and dark mode based on the user’s device settings.
  2. Theme Switcher: Provide a theme switcher button or option on your website to allow users to manually switch between light and dark mode. This gives users control over their viewing experience and allows them to adjust based on their preferences.
  3. Accessibility Options: Consider providing accessibility options for users who may have difficulty viewing the dark mode design. This can include options to increase text size, change font colours, or adjust contrast settings.
  4. User Education: Educate your users about the benefits of dark mode and how to enable it on their devices. Provide clear instructions and guides to help them make the most of your website’s dark mode feature.
  5. Performance Optimisation: Optimise your website’s performance while using dark mode. Make sure to minimise the use of heavy graphics or animations that may slow down the loading speed. This will enhance the overall user experience and ensure smooth browsing.
  6. A/B Testing: Conduct A/B testing to compare the performance and user engagement of your website in both light and dark modes. This will help you gather data and insights to make informed decisions about the design and implementation of dark mode on your website.


In conclusion, dark mode design is gaining popularity and can greatly enhance the user experience on your website. By carefully considering aesthetics and usability, you can create an effective dark mode that not only looks visually appealing but also provides a seamless and enjoyable browsing experience for your users. Implementing dark mode on your website can be done through CSS media queries, theme switchers, and accessibility options. By educating your users and optimising your website’s performance, you can ensure that your dark mode design is well-received and appreciated by your audience. So, embrace the dark side and enhance your website’s user experience with dark mode design. Contact our web design agency in Manchester today to upgrade your website with an accessible dark mode feature!