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Incorrect understanding of 'Dark Mode' in iOS 13


andyburgess
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I believe the developers have misunderstood 'Dark Mode' in iOS 13.

 

Dark Mode is a system wide option in iOS 13 that means that the User Interface in apps should be in dark colours, rather than light colours. The Accordance app correctly switches the user interface on iOS 13 to a dark option when this is set system-wide.

 

However, Dark Mode should not affect the presentation of Content. It should be up to the user to decide what colour the content is on an app by app basis.

 

Unfortunately, Accordance for iOS removes the ability of the user to set custom colours for content – despite the fact that this used to work fine. If Dark Mode is on, it won't allow you to change the content out of 'night mode'.

 

As an example of an App which correctly distinguishes between User Interface and Content, please note Apple's own iBooks app – in the attached screenshot, the interface is in 'dark mode', but the content of the book is user customisable (in this instance, light colours).

 

I suggest Accordance for iOS be updated so that it respects the system setting for Dark Mode with regard User Interface, but allows the user to customise colours for content regardless of whether Dark mode is on or off.

 

Thanks!

post-35115-0-75200700-1569508898_thumb.png

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Books, is by far, an outlier. Overall, dark mode is designed to not cause a user eye pain when using their device in a dark environment. It is not pleasant when you fire up an app at night and it is full on bright. For most other apps besides Books, the content is dark. This includes Notes, Calendar, Mail, Messages, Agenda, Linea Sketch, iA Writer (beta), etc. Most developers are choosing to darken the content as well as the UI when dark mode is on. This allows for a consistent user experience across all apps when dark mode is enabled. Otherwise, it is pointless to have a system wide dark mode. If anything, I would like for Accordance to default to following the system display mode, but allow a person to override if they desire. This is how Tweetbot (a twitter client) has chosen to function. They have an option under their display settings labeled: Match System. 

 

And, I just looked up Apple’s human interface design guidelines for i*OS. It is assumed that the background for the UI and Content (“all views” includes content areas) will be dark. Towards the end of the section, they have stipulations about if you must have a white background. They really don’t want apps to have hate backgrounds in dark mode. https://developer.apple.com/design/human-interface-guidelines/ios/visual-design/dark-mode/

 

In iOS 13.0 and later, people can choose to adopt a dark system-wide appearance called Dark Mode. In Dark Mode, the system uses a darker color palette for all screens, views, menus, and controls, and it uses more vibrancy to make foreground content stand out against the darker backgrounds. Dark Mode supports all accessibility features.”

Edited by Joe
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Andy,

 

First, I want to let you know that I hear you and your concerns. We went back and forth about the best way to implement this.

 

In versions past, setting what we called Night Mode adjusted the interface as well as the text views. This, granted, was set by the user in the display settings, but it was also global, it was not limited to a single resource, such as is the case for other text pane level user customizations. If you wanted Night Mode, you got Night Mode app-wide, without the ability to change text pane level backgrounds and text colors.

 

So this is the historical precedent. If one, as a user, was used to using our Night Mode implementation, then how we conform to iOS system level Dark Mode is no different. The only difference being that instead of setting Night Mode in-app you toggle your system settings.

 

This, however, as I read, is your rub, you would like the option to have a "light" setting for text pane level items whilst still maintaining a dark UI.

 

I have a couple of thoughts about this.

 

1) I would posit that iBooks is actually broken in regards to their text level interface dark mode implementation. The app itself does respect system night mode adjustments, but when it comes to a text level change their "Auto-Night Theme" does nothing as I make changes to my system settings. One can change the theme for the text to be sure (which, as an aside, is much less customizable than Accordance's Light Mode options), but there is no text level theme switching that respects the system. Thus, when you opened iBooks and it was still a light background it was because the app wasn't functioning as it should.

 

2) This, then, brings up user customization. We absolutely could allow users to have the same kind of text pane level customization under dark mode conditions as they do with light, but this would require a not inconsequential re-write of how Night/Dark Mode functions. I am absolutely open to this, but the fact was that in order to support handling system dark mode when i*OS (I like that Joe, I'm stealing it) 13 shipped we didn't have the time for this.

 

So, I hope it helps to know that this was a well thought through implementation. Perhaps not as you would have cared for it, but thoughtful and cognizant of your issues nonetheless. We're always open to user feedback, so let's see what others think. 

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Dear Graham,

 

Thanks for your detailed feedback!

 

in response to 1), iBooks is not broken. The feature you mention is based on ambient light. Go into a dark room and it will switch automatically. Apple design their apps very carefully, and I believe that they have kept different colour options because they recognise this is good for the user.
 

in response to 2), I agree - allowing users running dark mode to switch their colours, just as in light mode, would be a good update for the app. The basic problem is that turning on dark mode now reduces the feature set of accordance. I don’t think dark mode was created with this in mind. Imagine if turning on dark mode reduced the number of colours in a drawing app??
 

Finally, you mention that in light mode Accordance has many more custom options for display than iBooks. Agreed! But currently in dark mode, accordance has fewer display options than iBooks. Would you agree with this?

 

thanks again,

 

andy

Edited by andyburgess
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Very interesting feature. I hadn't seen that done before. So sure, I'll concede point one. ;)

 

As for the other, like I said, I'm open to hearing what other users have to say about this. I would agree that we currently have fewer options in a dark context. However, making this adjustment would be fair amount of work, to disassociate internally dark UI elements from dark text pane drawing. It's not a matter of just putting the controls back into the display controller. I could put them there, but at this point they would make no actual changes. In beating Apple to the punch, so to speak, with an internal dark theme we made a series of decisions/assumptions that made sense in a "light" context, but may not still hold in one variegated.

 

So, if this is something that enough users would find functionally helpful I'll totally put it on the list of features to implement.

 

Thanks again for the feedback/engagement.

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Hi Graham,

 

Thanks for that explanation, I hadn’t realised it was a technical challenge. And I suppose developers are still finding their way with this new Dark Mode feature.

 

However, I think most users would appreciate full options with regard colours regardless of whether they are in light or dark mode. For the time being I need to change the system level settings every time I use accordance (before and after), which is a pain.

 

Thanks!

 

Andy

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Do you get to the setting through Control Center? It’s much quicker than through Settings.

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  • 5 weeks later...

I’m also having a great deal trouble with this implementation of dark mode, unfortunately. A big fan of dark mode, but the choices made make viewing much more difficult. Red letter text on dark background is difficult. As are some of the highlights. It would be much easier to read with a lighter desaturates red color and applying a color inversion function on the highlighters. Or at the very least a way to opt out of dark mode other than having to change my system settings every time I use Accordance app. I appreciate the addition of dark mode, it’s just not working very well for me as implemented.

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I struggle with dark mode as well and generally turn it off in control center when using Accordance. After reading with dark mode on for a few minutes, I look up and everything in the room has white lines on it. It really seems to mess with my vision. I like the dark theme for the app surrounding the text (like in Word or Excel), but the text itself to be on a lighter background. Just my two cents.

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