Shreyas Kulkarni

WhatsApp embraces the dark side

According to a February 12, 2020 TechCrunch story, WhatsApp has two billion users, a number that is higher than the population of most countries on the planet. Most, if not all, people use the app in low-light areas like movie halls or dark rooms. The resulting bright flash of light is not only annoying to others, but it doesn't bode well for the eyes' health, too.

Keeping this habit in mind, the Facebook-owned messaging service has introduced the dark mode. In a blog post, WhatsApp said, "It's designed to reduce eye strain in low environments. And we hope it helps prevent those awkward moments where your phone lights up the room."

To illustrate those awkward moments, WhatsApp has created a video to introduce the rollout of the dark mode. Playing to an unreleased version of 'The Sound of Silence' by Paul Simon, the ad shows many instances where people in dark or low-light rooms open WhatsApp only to be blinded by the bright flash of light. The short video shows how it's not just the smartphone users who are affected by it, but also the people next to them.

WhatsApp embraces the dark side

While designing the dark mode, WhatsApp focused on two particular areas: Readability and information hierarchy. "When choosing colours, we wanted to minimise eye fatigue, and use colours that are closer to the system defaults on iPhone and Android, respectively," the messaging app said. On information hierarchy, WhatsApp had this to say, "We wanted to help users easily focus their attention on each screen. We did this by using colour and other design elements to make sure the most important information stands out."

Android 10 and iOS 13 users can enable dark mode in their system settings. Android 9 users can go to WhatsApp Settings-Chats-Theme-Select 'Dark'.