Should I use a dark web design?

By Posted in - Web Design Tips on August 7th, 2009 0 Comments

Dark web designs today have become popular because they eminate a classy and elegant feel.  However,  almost 50% of people do not like dark web designs because of a lack of readability.  Although dark designs can have a striking visual impact, many readers don’t like reading light text on a dark background because it strains their eyes.  Here are a few tips to make your next dark website design appeal to a broader audience.

1.  Use more “white” space.  “White” is a figurative term for “blank” space.  Dark designs can have a tendency to feel heavy and too much clutter can reinforce that feeling.  By using plenty of “white space”, you can gradually guide the user down to the end of the page, while de-cluttering the layout.  “White” space can also be used to outline certain elements efficiently while still being creative.

2.  Use the right text. Because readability is a huge concern for dark background, web designers need to make sure they use “readable” text.  Increasing the font size, kerning or leading as well as adjusting paragraph size are all ways to make text more readable.  This will increase the “white” space around and between each letter.    Choosing the correct font is also important.  Sans-serif fonts are obviously the most legible, but Serif fonts when used properly (such as in headlines) can be used for added elegance and create a nice contrast with sans-serif fonts.

3.  Text contrast: Generally, pure white on a pure black background isn’t going to produce the best result.  Try to balance the darkness of the background with the lightness of the text. For example, a light gray background on a dark gray background might work better than just white on black.  The key is to experiment with different shades to see which works best.  

4.  Use minimal color schemes:  Busy color schemes can make a site look cluttered because the contrast is too sharp. Stick to one to two colors in your layout and proceed with caution if you feel you must use more.

Remember that dark web designs are generally used for creative or elegant designs with very little content and for those sites that want to elicit more of an emotional response.  Used judiciously and creatively, you can convince true believers of light backgrounds that dark design can be more readable and user-friendly.

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