MEDL Mobile

Why is it Taking so Long for Apps to Add Dark Mode?

june 19, 2020

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DARK MODE COMPLICATIONS

Almost a year has passed since Apple announced the Dark Mode feature at its worldwide developer conference with its new system IOS13. However, there are a lot of apps that are still developing the integration of the dark mode, even big corporations like Facebook. So why is it taking so long?

Dark mode is not as simple as switching the color. Only some parts of the program would automatically change to black, like the background. However, other parts still stay the same color. Some texts become unreadable, some illustrations look funky, and some colors do not look user-friendly with the dark background.

Nowadays, apps are becoming increasingly complicated with more views being put into the apps. A simple app can easily have hundreds of elements, multiple pages, and even different designs. Imagine going through all the pages and elements in the development package. Not only will it take up a lot of time, but it is also a lot of work. In some cases, apps made on an older system like iOS7 need to update thousands of lines of source codes just to get it right.

And the work doesn’t stop here. In addition to the text color, the illustrations cause more headaches for developers. Although Apple allows developers to have a tint color of the assets, it does not help with the illustrations. Basically, most of the illustrations need to be remade. Just to show you an example of how much work it contains, an app with 100 icons and 300 illustrations would need an extra 40 hours of work.

Keep in mind, once dark mode is implemented, it’s best to make sure every change you make to the app works on both light and dark mode. And the work doesn’t stop there…testing needs to be done. If you typically test your app on eight different OS systems and hardwares, you will need to test it in 16 OS systems and hardwares.

BRANDING

However, before you start anything, consider what effects it may have on your brand identity.

A well-known brand like Facebook is an invaluable asset that needs careful management to maintain its integrity. To build the brand visual identity, it’s crucial to ensure the consistency of the design. However, dark mode may bring some challenges to the brand guidelines and it would be a long process to implement the changes.

From a bigger picture, an app represents a business. When we talk about business, we need to look at ROI. With all the work we mentioned above, how much revenue or benefits(company wise) can the dark mode bring? The unfortunate answer is none. Dark mode would only increase the user experience, but there are no financial benefits for the companies. This might be another reason why most apps are implementing the dark mode so slowly.

Michael Gilmore, Executive Vice President of MEDL Mobile shared his thoughts on the matter, “Although the work is not difficult, it is tedious. More code means more chances for bugs. If your users are happy, spend money and will use the app more, dark mode would be worth implementing. If it isn’t heavily requested and does not make sense, save your money and build out more useful features.”

So make sure to weigh the pros and cons before committing to supporting dark mode and that it will truly and positively enhance your business.

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