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  • Patch Lady – am I out of touch?

    Posted on Susan Bradley Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Home Forums AskWoody blog Patch Lady – am I out of touch?

    This topic contains 59 replies, has 36 voices, and was last updated by  ve2mrx 3 weeks, 6 days ago.

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    • #1988768 Reply

      Susan Bradley
      AskWoody MVP

      What’s up with “dark mode”?  Every app, every operating system, every geek thing that comes across my view is popping up with “dark mode”.  Clearly I
      [See the full post at: Patch Lady – am I out of touch?]

      Susan Bradley Patch Lady

    • #1988805 Reply

      GreatAndPowerfulTech
      AskWoody Plus

      As the saying goes, getting old beats the alternative.

      I agree about the blue Outlook color.

      GreatAndPowerfulTech

    • #1988879 Reply

      Cee Arr
      AskWoody Plus

      Susan, I just updated Firefox and up came the black screen.  I find it totally annoying and not the best for my poor 72 year old eyesight. Give the user a choice – I do not need some clown deciding that one colour (black) suits everyone.  Alas, the rot has set in and black is the colour that appears on everything these days.  The only thing I can add is “who ever” has absolutely no artistic sense , is colour blind and in essence has no taste (not food !) rather no class.  You have my sympathy.

      3 users thanked author for this post.
      • #1989487 Reply

        Charlie
        AskWoody Plus

        I’ve been holding off updating Firefox to version 70 just because of things they do that annoy me.  I read that the new FF 70 Theme will put all pages in black, but I thought they still gave you the ability to change your Theme back to “Light” and use Windows colors.  Is this not the case?

        Win 7 Home Premium, x64, Intel i3-2120 3.3GHz, Groups B & L

        • #1992219 Reply

          anonymous

          So far in Windows or Ubuntu based Linux, Firefox has used the site supplied data for rendering pages.

          The high contrast black and white site rendering you type about can be made to exist in the Fonts and Colors preferences. In the Colors dialog, the default is not to do that unless a operating system uses a High Contrast theme.

          For the rest of the browser, you can still choose Default theme which inherits much of the interface elements color scheme from the Operating System.

          The Dark theme is a sea of black, gray user interface elements and white text with prized islands of colors as provided by any installed browser extension’s icons.*

          The Light theme has a light background with darker flat contrasting interface elements also with islands of other colors as provided by any installed browser extension’s icons.*

          The new privacy shield icon seems to stay blue.

          *The theme should match that description when using Windows.

    • #1988896 Reply

      Latka
      AskWoody Lounger

      I like black backgrounds because:

      1. Consumes less power on OLED screens, found on many cell phones.

      2. Exposes my eyeballs to less sleep-robbing high energy blue light.

      3. Reminds me of the good old monochrome CRT monitors of my childhood.

      2 users thanked author for this post.
      • #1989361 Reply

        ve2mrx
        AskWoody Plus

        I think #1 and #2 would be the reason.
        But:

        #1 A screen is meant to display whatever one wants, independent from its internals.

        #2 There are other ways like f.lux does. Built in iOS, Windows 10, etc. Still, I can appreciate it late at night when I should be sleeping.

        A few years ago, studies proved that black text on a white background is what’s the easiest to read. UI design has mostly taken this into consideration.

        But I add #4 Because others do it! Yeah…

        Martin

    • #1988938 Reply

      Mele20
      AskWoody Lounger

      I agree that dark mode makes everything MUCH HARDER to read. It gives me a blinding headache very quickly. Usually, I just quickly leave any site that has black with white font…except for Black Viper which I have used for close to 20 years when setting up a new computer. (Thank goodness, the site no longer displays in that horrid manner although ironically, it is not needed as much with Windows 10).

      With the upgrade to iOS 13+ my iPhone XR offers me dark mode. It’s horrible and my eyes began to burn and water almost immediately. I went back to normal mode quickly. I dislike the black sides that show up for Askwoody (I suppose because I have a 24″ wide screen Dell Ultrasharp monitor and this site is not designed for wide screen monitors). The black sides here are very harsh on the eyes.

      I’m “old” but what does that have to do with this anyhow? I haven’t always been “old” and have always hated websites that have a dark view available/mandatory. My home site, where I used to spend the majority of my time, has a dark theme that many use but I hated it and I use the Canadian theme which has bright reds on a normal, white background. I don’t use my iPhone in bed and when up and about my home is brightly lit in the evenings…I’m a night owl so up very late. I use my phone in a brightly lit room or out in too bright sunshine. Same with my computer monitor…it is in bright light. Why would I want dark mode when I paid a lot for each of my Dell Ultra Sharp monitors (and my first monitor – a CRT Trinitron)? I spend good money on a great video card and can’t see why I would want to ruin that with dark mode! My monitors come with certificates to show the testing done so that the monitor accurately displays colors correctly.

      • This reply was modified 1 month, 2 weeks ago by  Mele20.
      2 users thanked author for this post.
      • #1992349 Reply

        Ascaris
        AskWoody_MVP

        I went back to normal mode quickly. I dislike the black sides that show up for Askwoody (I suppose because I have a 24″ wide screen Dell Ultrasharp monitor and this site is not designed for wide screen monitors). The black sides here are very harsh on the eyes.

        Set the default zoom to 175%, and most sites won’t bother you with those big empty spaces on the side anymore.  Most sites at 100% zoom used to do this on mine, and I had to ctrl-mouse wheel each of them until the content filled the available space on each individual site.

        I don’t know about Chrome, but Firefox has no ability to set the default zoom by default.  Not to worry, though, as there are a number of addons that do this in different ways.  Some will remember the zoom setting for all sites independently, bypassing the Firefox data store (which can presumably be wiped if you clear history), while the one I use, which is simply called Default Zoom, simply looks for any 100% page zoom and sets it to 175%, while leaving any other zoom setting alone (since that means it was custom set by the user).  True 100% zoom isn’t persistently available anymore, as the addon will change it to 175% the next time the site is visited, but 95% and 105% work, and are pretty close to 100% zoom if I should ever want that.

        I am at 175% on Askwoody.com now on my desktop, and there are no black bars at all.  That’s the sweet spot for most sites… some need a bit more or less, but most work nicely at 175%.  That’s on my 1920×1080 display… other resolutions will probably differ.

        Group "L" (KDE Neon User Edition 5.17.4).

        1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #1992832 Reply

        anonymous

        Hi Mele20, I have an alternative approach. Ascaris has a good plan if the larger text size also gives further assistance to eyestrain relief. But if you are using a 24-inch monitor within a few feet of your chair it may be overwhelming.

        I did not see if you are currently also using a 1080-line resolution level, like Ascaris. If you are satisfied with the size of text and want to eliminate the black filler you could resize the window for your browser and squeeze the sides to expose your desktop instead.

    • #1988916 Reply

      anonymous

      Everyone I know talks about how the dark mode doesn’t hurt their eyes as much. So my theory is just that most people keep the brightness up too high on their devices for the lighting conditions they are in.

      That said, I do like it better in GIMP. The effect deemphasizes the UI verses the actual content, which, once I got used to it, actually helps. It also is good that it goes with a lighter dark gray background than most, reserving black for selection.

      2 users thanked author for this post.
      • #1988965 Reply

        Ascaris
        AskWoody_MVP

        I keep my brightness at around 20 percent on laptops, and even less than that on desktops, and the white still makes my retinas pop and sizzle like a hamburger on the grill.

        I don’t like dark modes, though.  It would be nice if there was some middle ground between the blistering white and black… you know, like Windows had from the beginning through Windows 7 (if you used a basic theme).

        This trend toward dark themes is actually an improvement, though still vastly inferior to the level of control that used to be standard.  Now we have total white or total black, not just total white.

        As far as web pages, I never let their color schemes worry me much.  Sites are automatically dimmed as I load them, so that white appears as #E1E1E1, or close to it, and I can set the background to that, with black text and blue links, with a single mouse click.  That’s my preference… any other would work just as well.

        Pages that I don’t like the look of have been around since many of them were on Geocities… why tolerate it?

         

        Group "L" (KDE Neon User Edition 5.17.4).

        1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #1989186 Reply

        doriel
        AskWoody Lounger

        Its the contrast, that murts the most. Black and white is much more aggressive than black and yellow.

        I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work.
        --- Thomas A. Edison

        1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #1988964 Reply

      Pointedly
      AskWoody Plus

      Hi, Susan,

      Having a dark mode available is beneficial to persons who suffer from disabling migraine headaches.

      1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #1989011 Reply

        Tom-R
        AskWoody Plus

        @pointedly: Having a dark mode “available” is perfectly fine.  I’m all in favor of more options and choices.  I think where Susan has a problem — and where I have a problem also — is where apps and websites start making dark mode the default or (worse yet) the only choice.

        In your case it’s apparently light-colored backgrounds that trigger your migraine headaches.  Well in my case, it’s the bright white fonts on a dark background that trigger my sparkly ocular migraines.  As much as you might like dark mode because of migraines, I dislike dark mode for exactly the same reason.

        To all those developers out there: Go ahead and provide a dark mode option for users.  But just stop trying to force everyone into accepting dark mode as the new normal.

        10 users thanked author for this post.
    • #1988981 Reply

      Fred
      AskWoody Plus

      Mrs Susan, nothing is wrong having experience , instead of liking useless changes; thanks for sharing so much

      After all.. Just because we're paranoid doesn't mean they aren't out to get us.
      • This reply was modified 1 month, 2 weeks ago by  Fred.
      3 users thanked author for this post.
    • #1989087 Reply

      WildBill
      AskWoody Plus

      I only put my phone & Twitter on Dark mode after the sun sets… or after I notice it. Same for switching back to “Light” or regular mode once the sun’s risen. When using my phone in the dark, it makes more sense. Plus, it does drain the battery less. As for my laptop, I usually have a light on, so it makes less sense. & if the battery on the laptop gets low, I can always start charging it. Mainly… it’s the latest fad. IT is like Hollywood in that respect… whatever is “new”, “hip” or “different”, both have to jump on the bandwagon.

      Windows 8.1, 64-bit, back in Group A... & leaning toward Windows 10 V1909. As long as it's a Lot Less Buggy!
      Wild Bill Rides Again...

      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #1989093 Reply

      gkarasik
      AskWoody Plus

      As the saying goes, getting old beats the alternative.

      I agree about the blue Outlook color.

      Black is the new black.

      GaryK

    • #1988966 Reply

      anonymous

      I’ve always found dark mode or in fact any light font on a dark background to be very hard on my eyes. Even ten seconds of trying to read under those conditions makes my eyes start to go buggy and if I look away I get at least ten or twenty seconds of a weird floating text imprinted in my vision. I have a little javascript applet called ZAP colors I use in all my browsers to convert such pages to a white background with black text. It can be found easily using Google. Not sure if I’m allowed to link to it here but feel free to strip it out if it’s a problem..

      https://www.squarefree.com/bookmarklets/zap.html

       

      2 users thanked author for this post.
    • #1989175 Reply

      Mele20
      AskWoody Lounger

      Powered

      Uh, no. I have suffered from migraine with aura since I was in my early twenties. The whiter and brighter the page and the more true the colors to real colors the less problems I have with migraines. Dark colors and having my monitor turned below 75% brightness and 75% contrast will trigger a migraine pribably because I have to work too hard to see anything! Of course, migraines are also triggered by the non ADA compliant websites that insist on flickering and lots of moving objects that cannot be stopped. I can’t go to websites like that.

      As for my iPhone I get really tired of being prompted to turn down the brightness to save battery life. I can’t use the phone unless it is on very high brightness! I’m old enough now that the actual headaches don’t happen often but I get the auras (that last 20-30 minutes and cause blind spots in the visual field) sometimes as many as 5 times a day. I especially cannot tolerate flickering of an icon in the systray and had to remind several software companies that they need to be ADA compliant so that migraines, seizures, etc don’t happen to susceptible users.

    • #1989287 Reply

      anonymous

      Even Ask Woody isn’t immune to contrast issues that are hard on the eyes.  Using Chrome, one only need look to the right at the wood panel strip and the brown links under “Search the Lounge”.  Not the worst contrast issue but certainly not among the best choices either.

      • #1989513 Reply

        anonymous

        Is there an option to change the color of “links” text? Try that… I use firefox and the “links” are in blue text, so contrast is OK.

    • #1989300 Reply

      Elrod
      AskWoody Plus

      I don’t mind dark mode in Firefox.  I’ve tried dark mode in iOS 13. There are some apps which I would like to see in dark mode.  There are some apps (e.g. Notes, Maps) where I’d really prefer light mode.  But it seems to be an all-or-nothing thing.  This has caused me to permanently turn off dark mode for the phone.  The Maps app used to transition automatically to its own dark mode when the phone sensed that ambient lighting conditions had darkened; I’m hoping it still does that automatically.  Maps makes no sense in dark mode all of the time; tan roads on black background are very hard to see.  But when you are using it for navigation, it is better to have dark mode at night so you don’t have the bright glowing rectangle ruining your night vision.

      And yes, you can set the phone to transition to dark mode in the evening, but I find the switching back and forth even more jarring than staying one way or the other all of the time.

      Group "L": Linux Mint

    • #1989330 Reply

      plodr
      AskWoody Plus

      I’m in my 70’s and don’t want dark mode.

      Let me get on my soapbox about dark hardware! I’m using a very old keyboard because it is beige. It’s hard finding a light keyboard. I got my husband a keyboard with the yellow keys.

      Our DVD standalone with radio attached  is black with light gray words. I keep a flashlight nearby when I have to change any setting. (Standard time is coming soon so I’ll grab the flashlight to change the time).

      My husband and I had to buy a large button phone with answering machine for my mother in her 90’s when we moved her into assisted living. She was legally blind. We searched until we found one that wasn’t black. Even then I had to use red magic marker to mark two of the quick dial buttons so she could call us and my aunt.

      Old people can’t see light gray print on black. Engineers/manufacturers need to realize that not everyone is young and has good eyesight. Give us choices of light and dark products.

      Got coffee?

      9 users thanked author for this post.
      • #1989516 Reply

        anonymous

        I agree. I hate black plastic appliances the have the directions / polarity/ etc, molded in black, or printed on a decal in dark gray text! UNFORTUNATELY older people are NOT the TARGET consumer group for electronic device manufacturers! So, we gotta deal with it. White paint and silver aluminum speed tape!

        1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #1989374 Reply

      anonymous

      Susan –

      Please don’t worry about “getting old.” I’m a relatively young person, but I believe it’s a shame that modern society often seems to ignore the wisdom and experience of its older generations.

      As a “reasonably young person,” I generally favor dark modes; they’re usually easier on my eyes. Still, it’s surely important to leave the choice to the user.

      Thanks!

      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #1989394 Reply

      anonymous

      As far as hurting the eyes is concerned all browsers should come with a color picker sort of functionality where the user can grab the eyedropper and move that over the area of the webpage. And the browser having the ability to have the color matched to the HTML5 element that defines that color so the user could modify it via some included browser functionality to improve readability.

      There are also ADA act accessibility requirements and all browsers should have some standard set of accessibility rules  that can be enforced to modify any webpage HTML/HTML5 Markup to enforce some set of rules if the user sets that option on the browser. Certain type fonts and other webpage design elements need to be restricted by browser options where the user may have issues with dyslexia or other disabilities that require accessibility accommodations.

      Browsers should have some basic end user color discovery(Eyedropper) with on the fly webpage editing capability where things like color(foreground/background), saturation, and brightness/contrast can be modified on any webpage’s background/foreground color choices.  That and overriding the font choice for folks with disabilities.

      All browsers should have a colorblind button that if depressed enforces underlines for hotlinks and overrides any color shading intended as visual hot linking ques. Some webpages are out of this world unreadable so some end user enforced sanity needs to be enforceable via some better browser capabilities.   Accessibility options need to be user customizable and have the rules enforced to override any webpage composition that is just too over the top with poor design choices.

      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #1989429 Reply

      TechTango
      AskWoody Plus

      Frankly, I’m older than the Patch Lady and I’ve been using the Dark Reader extension in Chome and Firefox for several months.  I like it a lot, although I have several sites whitelisted for normal display including AskWoody.  White screen glare hurts my eyes.  I’m total dark mode on my android phone.  Hopefully, that doesn’t mean I’m in the dark. 😉

    • #1989432 Reply

      nazzy
      AskWoody Lounger

      As someone who spends 10+ hours a day staring at various computer screens including my iPhone, I appreciate “dark mode” wherever I can find it, especially on my phone checking texts/email late at night, sometimes in bed with the lights off, dark mode is most appreciated.  I don’t miss the retina-burning white screens in a dimly-lit room.  Turning down the brightness of light mode is not an option for me, because while the whites are less bright, so is everything else which makes everything harder to see in general, for my eyes.  I’d rather be in dark mode and turn brightness up, than be in light mode with brightness down.

      I prefer Windows 10/Server dark mode compared to light mode.

      Having said that, not all products implement dark mode well, especially some websites and browsers.

       

      2 users thanked author for this post.
      • #1989490 Reply

        ve2mrx

        I agree a gamma(?) change would be better than a pure brightness change. As in a curve. Darker tones less affected than bright ones. It might break color relationship, but it’s one more tool.

        Martin

        • #1994519 Reply

          rc primak
          AskWoody_MVP

          Night Light is a feature, formerly a program, for Windows or Linux which pretty much sets the gamma or “color temperature” by time of day.

          Dark Mode is a fad for which there is no scientific or medical basis. It’s like the blue-blocker lenses which certain eyeglasses companies are pushing. The claim that blue light harms your eyes goes against several billion years of evolution. But don’t let that stop a “professional” optometrist from spreading the fake news.

          I will not install a desktop environment which uses a Dark Mode theme of any sort. There are also some very ugly high contrast themes which I will not use. Ubuntu Linux has such ugly GNOME Themes that I have to modify them using third-party utilities, which Ubuntu 18.04 upward suddenly blacklists and they won’t work anymore. Windows 10 will probably be the next Desktop Environment to go Dark. But I hardly touch Windows anymore, so who cares?

           

          -- rc primak

    • #1989438 Reply

      Norio
      AskWoody Plus

      There’s a substantial amount of research that concludes that “dark mode” or a “dark theme” is worse for you in terms of just about every standard, including eyestrain and legibility. However, it’s good for design and battery life–good for companies, not for users. That’s why it’s so prevalent.

      There’s a good summary here (https://www.wired.com/story/do-you-need-dark-mode/):

      Dark mode makes for a nice design, but don’t expect it to relieve eye strain, improve legibility, or make your workday more productive.

      And here: https://arstechnica.com/civis/viewtopic.php?f=19&t=1443773

      4 users thanked author for this post.
      • #1989515 Reply

        Sessh
        AskWoody Lounger

        Dark mode does relieve eyestrain for plenty of people, though. I’ve actually seen this particular feature being asked for by users in several programs (Facebook Messenger for Desktop, Viber etc..) and there are several browser skins that have darker themes. It makes my eyes hurt looking at white backgrounds at night (if I’m chatting especially, Dark mode is much easier on the eyes) when I’m already tired and it’s terrible for the eyes to stare at a bright white screen (computer monitor, cell phone, TV) in a dark room because it causes eye strain. In those cases, it’s definitely better to lower brightness levels of whatever you’re looking at. It’s even worse if you’re wearing minus lenses to look at things six inches in front of your face.

        There is no objective answer to this. Dark mode reduces eye strain for some and not for others. I am all for giving people the option to choose which they want and against enforcing either one as an unchangeable feature.

        2 users thanked author for this post.
        • #1994520 Reply

          rc primak
          AskWoody_MVP

          Blue Blockers for your Desktop. Snake oil, scientifically and medically.

          -- rc primak

          • #2001829 Reply

            ve2mrx
            AskWoody Plus

            Any proof of that?

            All I heard and read says that blue light from monitors is a significant cause of sleep problems. I’m myself affected with insomnia, and cutting down blue light on screens and lighting as solved them.

            So, again, sources?

            Martin

            • #2002120 Reply

              Paul T
              AskWoody MVP
            • #2002214 Reply

              b
              AskWoody Plus

              A single sentence there seems to disprove the “proof”:

              Because of its wavelength, blue light does disrupt healthy sleep physiology.

              Windows 10 Version 1909 (Group ASAP)

              1 user thanked author for this post.
            • #2002246 Reply

              ve2mrx
              AskWoody Plus

              Exactly!

              All I read, viewed and heard says that basically, our sleep cycle is locked to the natural light colors. Blue in the morning and the day (sunlight, we feel we should not sleep), sunset (bright yellow + red, sleeping time is coming) and night with a fire (dimmed yellow + red, we should be sleepy).

              Besides, the natural day (studied in electricity-free areas) is up early in the morning, go to sleep after sunset, wake up around 22h00, supper with a fire, sleep again after until dawn.

              Artificial blue light and bright lights at night mess that up. Using f.lux and similar offerings helps a lot, and f.lux can control some “smart” lamps to match light to the cycle. In addition, I use scheduled screen dimming in the Intel graphics driver to dim the screens past 20h00. Basically, I create an environment mimicking the natural light cycle. And I get hungry near 22h00.

              Now, if only TVs had something like f.lux…

              Martin

            • #2002267 Reply

              ve2mrx
              AskWoody Plus

              And I forgot to mention that CFLs, and LED bulbs just amplify the problem by staying the same color all the time. The old, energy-wasting incandescent light DID mimic fire colors when dimmed! And this color-dimmable relation did help all of us sleep better since electricity came around.

              So, in that regard, the switch to CFLs and LED bulbs was a step backwards, unless you use recent dimmable incandescent-mimicking LED bulbs or plain programmable “smart” bulbs properly configured.

              Also, blue-blocking spectacles are mostly for UV protection in my opinion. Marketing-wise, it’s easier to say “blue light” than “ultraviolet light”, and they do cut a bit of blue… Then, there is no surprise to the customer they are a little yellow (less blue).

              As for the dark theme, I never was a fan, except for my coding setup where colored keywords stand out over dark, and on my iPhone where it’s less bright and sometimes easier in the dark (because it’s not blinding bright compared to the surroundings).

              Martin

    • #1989494 Reply

      CADesertRat
      AskWoody Plus

      Personally, I’m in mid-70’s and I have some Macular Degeneration so the black backgrounds are to my liking. The contrast is easier for me to read without a glaring white background.

      Don't take yourself so seriously, no one else does 🙂
      4 Win 10 Pro currently 1809 (3 Desktops, 1 Laptop).

    • #1989488 Reply

      anonymous

      You forget that this is Microsoft. For years they have been changing the UI so they can call it better.

      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #1989523 Reply

      Bill C.
      AskWoody Plus

      No you are not. My reply went as anonymous, but not sure where. Lately AskWoody.com logs me out unpredictably.

      Nothing worse than low contrast interfaces. I will always prefer dark mode or BLACK on white if there is small text over any pastel colors or grays. I do like it on my iPhone.

    • #1989555 Reply

      Marcus Weldby
      AskWoody Plus

      I agree with the comments about contrast. The font is already smaller, you don’t need to make it lighter, too. Contrast

       

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    • #1989567 Reply

      Microfix
      Da Boss

      For those with nvidia graphics, there are adjustments within the nvidia control panel which can help if the white is too bright using nvidia settings:
      nvidiaCP
      Play about with the settings to suite YOUR eyes 😉

      ********** Win7 x64/x86 | Win8.1 x64 | Linux Hybrids x64 **********

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      • #1990901 Reply

        Ascaris
        AskWoody_MVP

        For those with nvidia graphics, there are adjustments within the nvidia control panel which can help if the white is too bright using nvidia settings:

        Yes, that’s true, and if you are using an external monitor, it should have controls for such things also.

        In my case, I tried to do this first, as it would fix Windows (and all of the programs that use my system colors, which is most of them), those few applications that refuse to comply with the system colors and demand their own, and web sites all at once.  Unfortunately, once I lowered the brightness to the point that #FFFFFF appeared about like my preferred #E1E1E1 (brightness from 255 to 225), it had the effect of making a lot of things too dark to see clearly. The bottom end of images all faded to black.

        I tried to compensate by changing the contrast, reducing it so that the gap between full white and full black would “fit” within the new, smaller brightness envelope, but I could never get a setting that worked for both.

        The browser addon’s method of darkening the display of web pages didn’t have quite the same ill effects on images as reducing the brightness using nVidia settings or the monitor, for some reason.  They are darker, but not to the point that the detail is lost, and if I want the darkening effect off for a moment to get a better view of something, it’s a mouse click away, whereas changing color settings requires comparatively a lot more effort.

        In the desktop UI itself, for those of us with sensitive eyes, the real answer is to not set the color to white in the first place.  I see this complaint so often, yet just about every web page, every program that doesn’t follow the system color scheme, and GUIs themselves these days seem to demand white.  One size does not fit all! (I say that so often that I may as well put it in my .sig!)  The recent trend toward having dark themes is welcomed, as now there are twice as many options as before, but the number of options has only incremented by 1.  Two sizes, it turns out, also do not fit all.

        Windows had a wonderfully effective and simple to use color scheme editor, and it still does if you use a high-contrast theme in 10 or 8.*, or a basic/classic/high-contrast theme in 7.  When MS introduced the Desktop Window Manager (DWM) compositor that was first seen in Windows Vista, the ability to set each of the colors independently was missing from all of the DWM themes (which at the time consisted only of Aero Glass themes).  A few of the colors could be set with Aero themes, but most were hard-coded into the themes themselves.  Changing those would mean editing the theme itself, and these themes were binary files that would not be easy to edit.

        To make sure people didn’t do that, Microsoft imposed a signature requirement on all themes.  This signature requirement was more stringent than the one they imposed on x64 kernel drivers– those just have to have a signature from a trusted certificate authority.  Themes have to be signed by Microsoft, and they don’t do that for any but their own.  Any bit that was changed would result in the signature being broken, and Windows would refuse to use or even acknowledge the theme’s presence.

        This signature requirement was, of course, quickly circumvented, and MS didn’t press the issue (fortunately).  The point was that they really went that extra mile in trying to prevent users from having any control over how their PCs looked if it varied from Microsoft’s vision of what Windows is supposed to look like.  This, like several other negative trends with Windows, started during the Ballmer era, long before Nadella became CEO.

        Group "L" (KDE Neon User Edition 5.17.4).

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    • #1989620 Reply

      Interstate90
      AskWoody Lounger

      Dark mode is great! I use it all the time if available. It’s very important to have it as an option though as others have pointed out having migraine issues with certain color schemes (not just white on black). It’s important to point out that the familiar black-on-white paper is a reflective “display” of text, while a computer or phone display is emissive. You’re staring at a light source, just like watching TV. Imagine staring at a light bulb for hours on end.

      Computers from the 70s and 80s with command-line driven operating systems all had dark modes long before it became fashionable. It wasn’t until the Macintosh, Windows and WYSIWYG word processors did black on white screens become the norm for PCs. I remember customizing the window colors in Windows 3.x to create a dark mode that worked very well but there were some widgets that refused to comply.

      From reading posts from those who have problem with dark modes, some seem to have issues with bright-white on black while others have trouble reading light-gray on dark-gray. It might be worth tweaking the colors a bit if possible, but in most cases all you can do is choose a light or dark theme. There are issues with traditional light modes, for instance, many mapping apps draw minor roads with faint gray on the light-colored background. That makes it very hard to just glance at the map while driving. I’m still looking for a mapping app that looks more like a traditional road atlas.

      Most browsers let you set your own text and background colors and override colors in web pages but the results aren’t perfect. Browser extensions are available to tweak sites to look darker with much better results. Web developers should be including these extensions in their testing because they can make their sites look bad. For example, with the Dark Reader extension on Firefox, AskWoody looks great in the article space but the right column is hard to read with light text on the light-wood background.

      Dark modes are here to stay, but it should always be a choice.

      -Scott

    • #1989653 Reply

      EspressoWillie
      AskWoody Plus

      Hi Susan,

      When I saw my kids using dark mode on programs they used, I thought how annoying.  I decided to try it out as I have to darken my display for evening work (which I do a lot of).  It helped my eyes and let me work better, to my surprise.  So I have changed what I can to dark mode on my main computer.

      Cheers!!
      Willie McClure
      www.datarim.com
      Talk's cheap, takes money to buy whiskey.
    • #1989654 Reply

      anonymous

      I’ve twice now read new critique of the right hand sidebar.

      look to the right at the wood panel strip and the brown links under “Search the Lounge”.

      (^- #1989287 , #1989620 -v)

      the right column is hard to read with light text on the light-wood background.

      But my display still shows the rich blues that are the new and improved link text colors changed some weeks ago. Are these critical comments based on the expired scheme or is my display different from what others see today? I think this topic demonstrates that the range of need among readers will guarantee that no design will satisfy all.

      That is why I appreciate those comments that highlight available means to customize your own display to your own liking. (#1989567, and others here and in prior topics)

    • #1989773 Reply

      randompherret
      AskWoody Lounger

      I prefer dark modes for myself but can see why not everyone likes them. The big thing that I see people point to is that studies show that it is harder to read white on black, but for what I do I am not reading all that much. I could imagine if I had a normal office job using word and such I would not want word to have a black background for the document.

    • #1989782 Reply

      wdburt1
      AskWoody Plus

      I like black backgrounds because:

      1. Consumes less power on OLED screens, found on many cell phones.

      2. Exposes my eyeballs to less sleep-robbing high energy blue light.

      3. Reminds me of the good old monochrome CRT monitors of my childhood.

      So once again other users have to defer to smartphone users?  There has been a lot of that already with redesign of web pages…

      3 users thanked author for this post.
      • #1993318 Reply

        Ascaris
        AskWoody_MVP

        So once again other users have to defer to smartphone users? There has been a lot of that already with redesign of web pages…

        Yes, too much so, and also in desktop applications and operating systems.  Case in point: Firefox, with its new addon UI, as shown in this post I just made.  The new UI is pure phone for no reason whatsoever other than that it is “cool” these days to make bad UIs that mimic the bad UIs of phones, which at least have the excuse of trying to work around having tiny (relative to PCs) screens that are operated with big, fleshy fingers.

        Group "L" (KDE Neon User Edition 5.17.4).

        1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #1989871 Reply

      anonymous

      Hi Susan. I can’t answer for comps or tablets but on my phone I find dark mode is much easier on these 68 YO eyes.

      Thom R

    • #1990582 Reply

      Charlie
      AskWoody Plus

      I just bit the bullet and updated my Firefox to version 70 and it stayed in the same Light Mode configuration as the previous version 69.  Hurray!  Of course I’m using Win 7 which isn’t forcing you into the dark.  What a relief, and I have 71 year old eyes.

      Just thought there might be a few who would like to know this.

      Win 7 Home Premium, x64, Intel i3-2120 3.3GHz, Groups B & L

      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #1990749 Reply

      TechTango
      AskWoody Plus

      You CAN choose light or dark mode in Firefox 70.  Screenshots from my Firefox 70 today.  I’m using the dark mode, but it switches to light just fine.

       

       

      Attachments:
      2 users thanked author for this post.
    • #1990917 Reply

      Ascaris
      AskWoody_MVP

      Ya know, talking about dark themes made me think of something.  I’ve tried out a lot of themes, both in Windows and in Linux, and one thing I’ve seen a lot of is dark themes with very low contrast, with text and UI elements being quite dark.  I don’t know how that got to be cool, but these themes are completely useless to me.  Are these people designing themes while lying on their bed with all the lights off?

      A lot of dark themes are that way, trying to be too cool for school, but that doesn’t mean all dark themes are bad.  I don’t use or prefer them overall (in Linux I do use a dark taskbar/main [Start] menu), but there is a big difference between good ones with good contrast and those other ones.

      Group "L" (KDE Neon User Edition 5.17.4).

      2 users thanked author for this post.
    • #1991060 Reply

      wavy
      AskWoody Plus

      Bright bright are a trend, new HDR TVs have REALLY bright white when it is input by programming. For my eyes after watching a movie/tv show and ‘getting’ to watch a commercial with a totally white background is on the verge of painful. White font on a black background is not pleasant at all for me. (I need to turn on a lamp in the morning when I use the computer when it is a bit dark so maybe the windows night lite setting would be of help. Now I just turn on the lamp )
      BUT now maybe the time for the ascendancy of VISUAL ERGONOMICS. As many things we have more choices that matter and less that do. Time for a new meme: VISUAL ERGONOMICS !

      🍻

      Just because you don't know where you are going doesn't mean any road will get you there.
    • #1991091 Reply

      kdock
      AskWoody Plus

      I’ve been holding off updating Firefox to version 70 just because of things they do that annoy me.  I read that the new FF 70 Theme will put all pages in black, but I thought they still gave you the ability to change your Theme back to “Light” and use Windows colors.  Is this not the case?

      Yes, this is the case. I just updated to v 70.0 64-bit in Win 7, reported as the latest version of Firefox.  The Manage your themes allows me to use the o/s colors, or the Dark or Light color schemes.  They both seem to be disabled on my install. You can also apply themes.

      Best, Kim

      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #1991534 Reply

      anonymous

      Folks who find Dark Mode on an emissive-display device much harder to visually process might wish to get checked out for the following, which can be caused by various factors: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nyctalopia

      Another possible reason is that instead of genuine Dark Mode, one has been encountering simplistic inverted-colour schemes with stark #FFFFFF white text & visual elements on an equally stark monotonous #000000 black background, which can be tiring to look at after a while.

       

      Susan “am I out of touch?” Bradley said:
      “colors in Office are very washed and whited out”

      This is an issue of bad anti-user design, namely that of “Flat” design with the requisite overly low-contrast colour scheme, lack of texture & shadows, thin fonts, as well as lots of blindingly-white blank space to cater to fat fingers on touchscreen devices.

      Such “Flat” designs became mainstream on websites, desktop programs & mobile apps from the early 2010s onwards with the advent of smartphones, tablets, & Windows 8’s Metro tiles.

      As such, as opposed to being “out of touch”, everyone is constantly assaulted with Light “in touch” Mode, whether one is using a touchscreen/ mobile device or not.

      One might wonder: What’s with the whiteness & the overly low-contrast colours ? I once read that the aim (as opined by a digital design industry insider) is to portray minimalism as exemplified by the ethos of “Flat” design. Hey, if users can’t read the text or see the icons properly, the webpage or program will look like a Zen gravel garden, right ?

      Furthermore,  such “Flat” designs — until relatively recently — come with Light Mode as the only option, where there is no way to avoid the bright-white glare (especially obvious on desktop screens) that merely serves to worsen everything that’s wrong with “Flat” design.

      Here’s a recent case (published: 24 Oct 2019) of a guy diagnosed with “eye stroke” that was apparently triggered by excessive usage of overly-bright screen devices. More interestingly, his doctor reported that he has been seeing some 20 patients every month for the same condition, & that the occurrence rate is on the rise, especially amongst younger smartphone users.

      Another reported case in Oct 2018 where a lady suffered “eye stroke” after bingeing on 70 episodes of a TV serial drama (or almost 70 hours, minus the adverts) over 7 days on a laptop.

      With the glacial-slow (re)introduction of Dark Mode on emissive-display devices in the past 1+ year, the glare level has gone down somewhat. That being said, most of the time, it is users who have to manually enable Dark Mode, sometimes via inconspicuous or deeply-hidden settings. I have yet to come across a program where the default scheme is Dark Mode & with no user choice allowed.

      However, there are still many “Flat” design advocates who continue to churn out low-contrast colour schemes in Dark Mode, such that instead of ghastly pale-grey on blinding-white, one is instead confronted with the haze of pale-grey on medium-grey instead. This is not much of an improvement, other than saving some energy on electronic devices (desktop & mobile) powered by electricity generated upstream by  fossil fuel.

      Those interested in accessible universal design can check out the offline desktop program Colour Contrast Analyser, which helps users check the contrast & legibility of text & visual elements, & also comes with simulation modes for colour blindness, cataracts, as well as less-than-20/20 vision.

      Note: Development of the non-Electron ceased in Jun 2017, but the program remains functional.

      4 users thanked author for this post.
    • #1992029 Reply

      jayinalaska
      AskWoody Plus

      Tom Bedford at the Tech Radar web site doesn’t like dark mode, either. Here’s the opinion piece he wrote.

      2 users thanked author for this post.
    • #1993205 Reply

      OscarCP
      AskWoody Plus

      When one stare at a screen, unconsciously suppresses blinking. Blinking  helps keep the eye wet and brings nutrients to the cells that form the outer surface of the cornea, the transparent cover of the pupil that is the window of the eye. To be transparent, this tissue does not have blood vessels, so it cannot get its nutrients from the blood, as other tissues in the body do:      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cornea

      Because transparency is of prime importance, the healthy cornea does not have or need blood vessels within it. Instead, oxygen dissolves in tears and then diffuses throughout the cornea to keep it healthy.

      Without enough moisture for too long, the cornea becomes irritated, the result being inflamed and teary eyes.

      I am trying out “dark mode” to see if it helps, at least in my case. Whether it does or not, certain common actions can help reduce eye-strain: looking away from the screen roughly every fifteen minutes and focusing on objects farther away, while blinking a few times, to keep the eye sufficiently moist, can help. Also it might help, at night, to illuminate the area behind the screen, for example a wall, curtains… with a lamp positioned so that its light reaches them as well as whatever else one might need to have illuminated.

      Windows 7 Professional, SP1, x64 Group B & macOS + Linux (Mint) => Win7 Group W + Mac&Lx

      2 users thanked author for this post.

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