- Six Colors
- 512 Pixels
And probably others I’ve forgotten or haven’t visited. By coincidence, these are all Apple-related sites (though not officially affiliated with Apple).
I’ve written about this before, but after seeing multiple sites doing this, I am compelled to once more highlight this as bad design.
It’s bad design because dark mode should be an OS-level choice, one that provides a dark frame around content that may or may not be dark itself.
A good example of doing this right is the writing program Ulysses. Here’s how it handles dark mode:
- It lets you toggle dark mode on or off, regardless of the OS setting
- It lets you choose to match the OS setting if you prefer
- It lets you set just the outer UI elements to dark mode
- It lets you choose to make the “inner” elements dark as well–in this case, it’s the actual area where you write, which can be dark or light
A bad example is the iOS Maps app, which simply matches the OS setting, turning the map backgrounds into a dark gray mud that is hard to read. On the Mac, you can sensibly toggle this on/off. On iOS, you can’t because Apple is a trillion-dollar company and can no longer function properly (see also: the mind-bogglingly inept Safari beta that rolled out this summer as part of iOS 15 and macOS Monterey).
The best part is the fix for the three websites mentioned above if you don’t want to be forced into dark mode and don’t want to have to toggle an OS-level display setting every time you visit: Check them on a Windows PC, because even if you have Windows 10 set to Dark mode, the sites will not display as such–it only happens if you’re using a Mac, where these sites take an Apple-like approach of “our way or get out.”
I should point out that all three sites are quite fine in and of themselves, content-wise. I even pay for Six Colors! You should read all of them if you are a Mac geek.
The solution as I’ve mentioned before, is to offer a user toggle. The 9to5Mac website (among others) does this and it works just fine. There’s no reason the others listed can’t do the same. That two of them actually went through recent redesigns and still omitted this is not insanely great.