Design is about functionality! Accessibility is something I never skip, especially for a dark mode design. Not everyone may feel more comfortable, less tired and more focused while using Dark Mode. Designing for a dark background requires specific accessibility guidelines to consider. I was leading the design of Dark Mode for BlackBerry HUB+ prodcuts. Including secure apps suite like; Secure Inbox, Calendar, Notes, Tasks, Password, Battery Power Center & other Guardian Security apps. And responsible for creating Design Guidelines that has the right colour tones for the different elements in card based design.
Text can be hard to read – our eyes get used to reading books with dark text on a white background, so dark UI may cause eye strain.
Colours can have lack sufficient contrast, toens and accessibility problems.
Colours behave differently on light vs. dark themes. So colour palette needs to be carefully adjusted to communicate the same message effectively.
Dark UI doesn’t have the same breathing room as ‘white space’ on a light theme. Too many elements can quickly make the screen cluttered and busy.
Not everyone likes dark theme
Users must be able to perceive content
Users need to have customization and the best adjustment for their eyes.
Easy to use, accessible for everyone and effective.
Color contrast and tones used on a dark theme are vital for all users but especially for people with poor vision or disabilities. Users must be able to perceive content. This is why colors selected for text and icons need to be contrasted, readable and carefully used if there are gradients, semi-transparent colors, and background images. Everything has to be designed carefully and meet the contrast requirements.
I was testing and exploring different variations with essential consideration for the various content levels on a dark mode. Especially with a card-based design where shadows cannot be perceived the same as with the light theme. I have been experimenting with different shades of grey that can help to communicate visual hierarchy—avoiding using 100% black because pure black is too hard on the eye.
While creating the Dark Theme Guidelines for BlackBerry Products, I also had the opportunity to investigate the different aspects and challenges of accessibility. Dark mode may be the next hot design feature but can also create many accessibility issues. For some people, dark themes are more accessible, for others, the light theme would be preferable. The bottom line, users need to have personalization. And have both a dark theme and a light theme and allow users to select the theme that works best for them. Make switching between dark themes and light themes obvious and easy to find. The goal is to create products that will be easy to use, accessible for everyone and effective.
View some of the other Design Guidlines I was creating for BlackBerry Products