Dark mode is a lie

finbaar

Active member
Jun 14, 2012
26
0
1
Visit site
If PWM was a problem then I can understand that the issue with dark screens would be important to you in dark rooms. However I hate light modes on anything and I'm not effected by the PWM issue so I'm happy with dark mode and I wonder what the numbers who have the issue are? I'm not denying the issue BTW and I would prefer if Samsung didn't make cheap displays and sorted this out so everyone can enjoy dark mode.
 

fuzzylumpkin

Well-known member
Dec 7, 2012
4,374
926
113
Visit site
If PWM was a problem then I can understand that the issue with dark screens would be important to you in dark rooms. However I hate light modes on anything and I'm not effected by the PWM issue so I'm happy with dark mode and I wonder what the numbers who have the issue are? I'm not denying the issue BTW and I would prefer if Samsung didn't make cheap displays and sorted this out so everyone can enjoy dark mode.
I can't use a phone with light mode at all due to my own issues with vision. No dark mode means no visibility at all for me.

Seems like the author is mainly focused on the half baked dark modes that companies like Google use rather than real#000000 dark modes though, which I agree with.

The irony being these "dim modes" exist for the benefit of LCDs
 

scotchedpommes

New member
Sep 4, 2023
2
1
3
Visit site
Just came to this after hearing the discussion about it on the podcast yesterday, so I'm aware of how keen Nick is to engage with comments, but still thought it might be worth adding something on my own experience with using dark modes, as well as the motivation for it.

Apologies if there's a wee bit too much in this, but I know it can be illuminating to find out how others with different forms of visual impairment approach using (or avoiding) these displays, even if it's not always with the help of standard accessibility features.

tl;dr - have always used dark modes wherever possible here, to help with the effects of an eye condition consistently made worse by the light alternative. "Forced dark mode" (toggled in developer settings) saved me for years when using apps without their own integrated mode, but it seems to be increasingly common for devs to break compatibility with that system-implemented functionality through app updates.


No doubt those of us dealing with various conditions have a wide range of views on the usefulness of dark modes and other display-altering functions, with those bound to differ depending on the effects that we have to contend with. In my case, there are a few different sight conditions - now including near complete loss of vision in my left eye - but the underlying one that still has a bearing on my preference for dark modes is advanced Keratoconus in the more useful right eye.

Keratoconus is actually referenced in the Wired article that Nick linked to, but the only comment on it there is made in relation to the light sensitivity brought about for some making dark modes more useful. It helpfully doesn't clarify that the research findings mentioned on legibility apparently run contrary to the bulk of what might be experienced with the condition; I'd guess much of it simply doesn't apply to those with Keratoconus, or perhaps the last couple of decades really have been a carefully crafted illusion.

For me, although I'm an outlier (and an almost comical worst case scenario with the condition in a number of respects), I'd say light sensitivity in itself isn't a lone deciding factor when looking at how I try to adapt my screen usage. Yes, it is an immediate, sometimes intense strain to try to view any page dominated by a light background, but the key to improving usability for me tends to be in a combination of removing brighter light and also lessening the severity of the additional distortions* that are created around text and images.

That's best done by having light text (or any other visual elements) on a dark or black background. It doesn't have to be black rather than darkened or dimmed colours, but I'd certainly choose that too. I'd maintain that legibility is improved, and the comfort of then not having to endure light backgrounds on a page is a bonus.

If apps didn't have dark modes at all, there was a period of time when I would just avoid them altogether. You might ask why anyone so affected wouldn't just resort to using full inversion, but clearly there are other problems that come with that. You can still be hit by blocks of inverted dark areas in predominantly light apps, and images, design and colour are all effectively sacrificed, meaning it's never going to be a preferred solution. I'm fortunate to still be able to see and appreciate what's shown on a screen well enough, even with persistent distortions, that I typically wouldn't want to ruin other aspects of using a display by inverting everything.

"Forced dark mode", accessed through developer settings, is probably the best compromise that I've found, and has made the greatest difference to me outwith anything that was available via dedicated vision-oriented accessibility settings. It worked across a surprising number of apps that didn't have their own integrated dark modes, and for the most part it succeeded in blacking out white or dimming light backgrounds, still preserving most images. As of recent Android versions though, I've found that app updates have been removing compatibility with it. I don't know whether that's inadvertent and just an indication of a disregard for these issues on the part of developers, or more hopefully the precursor to integrated dark modes being introduced as standard. That might be more wishful thinking, though one app that I'd used with forced dark mode for a couple of years suddenly broke it with an update, only to then add their own dark mode (irrespective of attempts to communicate with them about it) a month later. Others that have become incompatible in the past year have seemed like a lost cause.

I hadn't known about PWM issues at all until I heard the subject raised on the podcast weeks ago, so I'm in no position to comment on what's "good" in those cases, but dark modes of any shade remain vital to me.


*Essentially, every image or fragment of text that I focus on is repeated in multiple persistent arrays or with visible "ghosting" around it. I find that the distortions are considerably easier to handle when the objects are set against a dark - preferably black - background. I've curiously seen others with Keratoconus that have reported the opposite being the case for them, so there's plainly significant variation in experience all round. [That said, they're obviously the weird ones in all of this.]
 
  • Like
Reactions: fuzzylumpkin

fuzzylumpkin

Well-known member
Dec 7, 2012
4,374
926
113
Visit site
Just came to this after hearing the discussion about it on the podcast yesterday, so I'm aware of how keen Nick is to engage with comments, but still thought it might be worth adding something on my own experience with using dark modes, as well as the motivation for it.

Apologies if there's a wee bit too much in this, but I know it can be illuminating to find out how others with different forms of visual impairment approach using (or avoiding) these displays, even if it's not always with the help of standard accessibility features.

tl;dr - have always used dark modes wherever possible here, to help with the effects of an eye condition consistently made worse by the light alternative. "Forced dark mode" (toggled in developer settings) saved me for years when using apps without their own integrated mode, but it seems to be increasingly common for devs to break compatibility with that system-implemented functionality through app updates.


No doubt those of us dealing with various conditions have a wide range of views on the usefulness of dark modes and other display-altering functions, with those bound to differ depending on the effects that we have to contend with. In my case, there are a few different sight conditions - now including near complete loss of vision in my left eye - but the underlying one that still has a bearing on my preference for dark modes is advanced Keratoconus in the more useful right eye.

Keratoconus is actually referenced in the Wired article that Nick linked to, but the only comment on it there is made in relation to the light sensitivity brought about for some making dark modes more useful. It helpfully doesn't clarify that the research findings mentioned on legibility apparently run contrary to the bulk of what might be experienced with the condition; I'd guess much of it simply doesn't apply to those with Keratoconus, or perhaps the last couple of decades really have been a carefully crafted illusion.

For me, although I'm an outlier (and an almost comical worst case scenario with the condition in a number of respects), I'd say light sensitivity in itself isn't a lone deciding factor when looking at how I try to adapt my screen usage. Yes, it is an immediate, sometimes intense strain to try to view any page dominated by a light background, but the key to improving usability for me tends to be in a combination of removing brighter light and also lessening the severity of the additional distortions* that are created around text and images.

That's best done by having light text (or any other visual elements) on a dark or black background. It doesn't have to be black rather than darkened or dimmed colours, but I'd certainly choose that too. I'd maintain that legibility is improved, and the comfort of then not having to endure light backgrounds on a page is a bonus.

If apps didn't have dark modes at all, there was a period of time when I would just avoid them altogether. You might ask why anyone so affected wouldn't just resort to using full inversion, but clearly there are other problems that come with that. You can still be hit by blocks of inverted dark areas in predominantly light apps, and images, design and colour are all effectively sacrificed, meaning it's never going to be a preferred solution. I'm fortunate to still be able to see and appreciate what's shown on a screen well enough, even with persistent distortions, that I typically wouldn't want to ruin other aspects of using a display by inverting everything.

"Forced dark mode", accessed through developer settings, is probably the best compromise that I've found, and has made the greatest difference to me outwith anything that was available via dedicated vision-oriented accessibility settings. It worked across a surprising number of apps that didn't have their own integrated dark modes, and for the most part it succeeded in blacking out white or dimming light backgrounds, still preserving most images. As of recent Android versions though, I've found that app updates have been removing compatibility with it. I don't know whether that's inadvertent and just an indication of a disregard for these issues on the part of developers, or more hopefully the precursor to integrated dark modes being introduced as standard. That might be more wishful thinking, though one app that I'd used with forced dark mode for a couple of years suddenly broke it with an update, only to then add their own dark mode (irrespective of attempts to communicate with them about it) a month later. Others that have become incompatible in the past year have seemed like a lost cause.

I hadn't known about PWM issues at all until I heard the subject raised on the podcast weeks ago, so I'm in no position to comment on what's "good" in those cases, but dark modes of any shade remain vital to me.


*Essentially, every image or fragment of text that I focus on is repeated in multiple persistent arrays or with visible "ghosting" around it. I find that the distortions are considerably easier to handle when the objects are set against a dark - preferably black - background. I've curiously seen others with Keratoconus that have reported the opposite being the case for them, so there's plainly significant variation in experience all round. [That said, they're obviously the weird ones in all of this.]
I have a very similar experience. To elaborate on my previous comment, I am an RP sufferer and have several secondary conditions. I also used to make full use of force dark, but stopped due to it becoming pointless. It sometimes feeels as though companies like Amazon and Uber are actively being malicious... I also use chrome flags to enable dark them theme across the web (unfortunately, firefox doesn't work well everywhere) and now have Samsung routines to automatically invert colours on specific apps. But, as you mention, this is far from an elegant solution. What Nick is unfortunately discovering is that companies don't really care about people with disabilities. Don't get me wrong, I am thankful that there are more accessibility features these days, but what |I have learned is that companies like samsung and google will break the functionality of these features on a whim and then take months or even years to fix the damage, if it ever gets fixed.

The thing that originally brought me to Samsung was the dark theme . I had been using substratum, which google killed the backend support for in android 9 so it could release it's own theme engine 3 years later. Samsung on the other hand had dark theme and a theme engine of their own. They even have high contrast themes in their accessibility menu, great! Except they broke those themes 2 months ago and seem unwilling to fix them. People who rely on them can only hope that they will be fixed when they are updated for OneUI 6, but I have run out of faith. I've personally reported bugs that I know are easy fixes that still have not been fixed. Most of the time I can't even make their CS reps understand that it is a bug in accessibility I am trying to report... they have no training in or knowledge of the features.

That got a bit ranty lol. But the post I replied to made me think it may be valuable for people to know they aren't alone in their struggles, and there are others who are haveing to find creative solutions to problems that could easily be solved by a developer.

Speaking of which, a shout out to small devs! Most of the ones I have spoken to who have neglected accessibility in their apps will fix it very quickly when it is pointed out I have personally reported bugs with accessibility to indy devs and have been fixed in a matter of days while similar bugs in products from Amazon, Google and Samsung go unresolved for months or years. If they get resolved at all..
 
  • Like
Reactions: scotchedpommes

scotchedpommes

New member
Sep 4, 2023
2
1
3
Visit site
I have a very similar experience. To elaborate on my previous comment, I am an RP sufferer and have several secondary conditions. I also used to make full use of force dark, but stopped due to it becoming pointless. It sometimes feeels as though companies like Amazon and Uber are actively being malicious... I also use chrome flags to enable dark them theme across the web (unfortunately, firefox doesn't work well everywhere) and now have Samsung routines to automatically invert colours on specific apps. But, as you mention, this is far from an elegant solution. What Nick is unfortunately discovering is that companies don't really care about people with disabilities. Don't get me wrong, I am thankful that there are more accessibility features these days, but what |I have learned is that companies like samsung and google will break the functionality of these features on a whim and then take months or even years to fix the damage, if it ever gets fixed.

The thing that originally brought me to Samsung was the dark theme . I had been using substratum, which google killed the backend support for in android 9 so it could release it's own theme engine 3 years later. Samsung on the other hand had dark theme and a theme engine of their own. They even have high contrast themes in their accessibility menu, great! Except they broke those themes 2 months ago and seem unwilling to fix them. People who rely on them can only hope that they will be fixed when they are updated for OneUI 6, but I have run out of faith. I've personally reported bugs that I know are easy fixes that still have not been fixed. Most of the time I can't even make their CS reps understand that it is a bug in accessibility I am trying to report... they have no training in or knowledge of the features.

That got a bit ranty lol. But the post I replied to made me think it may be valuable for people to know they aren't alone in their struggles, and there are others who are haveing to find creative solutions to problems that could easily be solved by a developer.

Speaking of which, a shout out to small devs! Most of the ones I have spoken to who have neglected accessibility in their apps will fix it very quickly when it is pointed out I have personally reported bugs with accessibility to indy devs and have been fixed in a matter of days while similar bugs in products from Amazon, Google and Samsung go unresolved for months or years. If they get resolved at all..

Thanks for this - I haven't been active in communities dealing with these issues, but agree that there's value in hearing from others, and I can relate to that sense of frustration and more. (Even the mention of Substratum, with the themes and unsupported software that I held on to here for as long as possible.) Hadn't actually used the full high contrast themes that have been broken, though I always have the separate high contrast mode on inside Samsung Internet.

You've also reminded me to check Routines; I hadn't even considered it for accessibility, but have heard it recommended several times before for other uses and I typically forget to get round to exploring it.

Cheers.
 

Latest posts

Trending Posts

Forum statistics

Threads
936,712
Messages
6,879,807
Members
3,155,437
Latest member
Anna_renea