Dark UI, Benefits And Pitfalls Of Dark Background In UI.

Shyam Adhikari
3 min readNov 10, 2020

The aspect of using dark colors and shades in the backgrounds of user interfaces is still highly debatable. It's no surprise that it's so current: selecting an appropriate background plays a critical role in all of the product's efficiency because it can become a key factor enhancing or, conversely, killing other design solutions centered on layout and functionality. Today's article will be devoted to the benefits and pitfalls of using a dark background in UI design, so let’s move on to the dark side.

Visual perception of dark.

The scientific research provided around the issue by Richard H. Hall and Patrick Hanna highlights the important point about the visual perception of the background color and its performance. Having analyzed practical experiments by different scientists done earlier in the sphere of web page performance and readability, the authors sum up: “They found that combinations with positive polarity resulted in better performance (that is, dark text on a light background), and, as with studies mentioned previously, the greater the contrast between color combinations, the better the performance.” As a result, when other aspects, particularly contrast and legibility of layout elements, are designed and tested appropriately, a dark-colored background can be as efficient as a light-colored one. The research contains a lot of interesting and useful information based on user testing in terms of different color combinations and their effectiveness, so it is highly recommended to designers.

The aspect of readability.

One of the famous gurus of user experience design, Jacob Nielsen, mentioned: “Use colors with high contrast between the text and the background." Optimal legibility requires black text on a white background (so-called positive text). White text on a black background (negative text) is almost as good. Although the contrast ratio is the same as for positive text, the inverted color scheme throws people off a little and slows their reading slightly. Legibility suffers much more in color schemes that make the text any lighter than pure black, especially if the background is made any darker than pure white.

Shyam Adhikari

Just a regular designer who enjoys talking about the importance of design in influencing people's lives.