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Ask DN: Should we start considering colors that contrast well under low-blue light conditions? (e.g. f.lux, iOS night mode)

over 3 years ago from , Co-founder @ Sensive

I've found myself noticing some websites and interfaces very hard to use under these light conditions and in my own practice I notice some colors contrast better than others. If we want our products to shine and be utilized as often as possible, I would think this will become a usability consideration for some designs. What do you guys think?

5 comments

  • Keir Ansell, over 3 years ago (edited over 3 years ago )

    Personally I would leave that to the system to manage rather than on a per site/application basis.

    With iOS having now integrated a "Night Mode", and Flu.x available on OS X (and potentially Night Mode in the future) and probably alternatives on other platforms, if you designed a website / application with colours intending to make it easier to read at night, and then the system applies it's own filter on top of that, the results probably wouldn't be ideal.

    On top of that, I'd imagine that most people do their browsing in a lit area (whether indoors or out) rather than in the dark.

    Edit: Of course you could offer an optional "Night Mode" ala Light on Dark but I wouldn't enforce it.

    5 points
    • Laurens SpangenbergLaurens Spangenberg, over 3 years ago

      I don't think he was talking about about a "night mode" where everything turns dark, rather it seems to me that he was talking about how to make UIs that work better with f.lux/(Apple's) "Night Mode" enabled.

      F.lux/"Night Mode" dramatically change colors, and colors that might have worked well in "daylight" might not work so well with f.lux/Night Mode.

      For example, I once saw a photo which had a girl with purple or lavender hair. When I revisited it at night with f.lux turned on (to its default strong setting,) the girl's hair appeared brown. With f.lux/Night Mode, many color hues start to look more similar to each other. If you have an app that has a large userbase that use it at night, it might be wise to use a color scheme that still manages to have good contrast despite that fact.

      f.lux/Night Mode isn't something that's suppose to be used in dark either, although it works lovely in that scenario as well, rather it helps make the device more consistent with warmer indoor lighting.

      2 points
      • Rolando Murillo, over 3 years ago (edited over 3 years ago )

        Yeah this is exactly what I was referring to. And your point makes sense as well. It's not hard to test (particularly now that these screen lightning tools are more available in all devices) if you know your product is popular at night. Thanks guys!

        0 points
        • Keir Ansell, over 3 years ago

          The majority of my post was actually referring to Night Mode haha. The bit I posted at the end was just really to say that if you wanted to make your website easier for people to read at night then to offer a traditional night mode. Just don't design websites in an iOS Night Mode colour vibe ^

          0 points
  • Mal SomMal Som, over 3 years ago

    I think now it's wise to turn flux on when designing and turn it off to check for true color. Flux gradually changes the color temperature, so we should have a toggle plugin that switch between 3 or 4 temperatures to check for low contrasts

    0 points