In Defense of Light Mode

We all need to go outside

April 23, 2021

I hope by now we all know that when it comes to the appearance of our software we should be using dark mode whenever possible. Staring at a bright screen for long periods of time has been proven to damage our eyes and since many of us have jobs that require us to be in front of a computer all day dark mode is not only more aesthetically pleasing but it can go a long way in reducing the strain on our eyes, so please set the default appearance of everything to dark mode.

Now after understanding the clear superiority of dark mode the question then becomes, "Why does light mode still exist?" The simple and obvious answer to that question is that light mode has been the default for many years now and probably most people still use it as they have not been educated on how the appearance of the software they use could affect their health, however for those of us enlightened on the topic of dark mode should still understand that there are some cases where switching back to light mode is a good idea.

A few years ago I was in a class where we were going over tips for presentations, our instructor told us that whenever we are making a powerpoint we should make two sets of slides, one with a dark background and one with a light background. If we are presenting in a dark room we should use the dark slides and if we are presenting in a light room we should use light mode, this is because on a projector light text is hard to read in a light room and a light background is blinding in a dark room. We should match our screens to our surroundings.

Now of course this type of reasoning doesn't apply to our normal computer or phone screens since they are much clearer than projectors, but what about when we go outside? We humans haven't been building dwellers for much longer than 100 years, in the grand scheme of things we don't have to go back very many generations to find ancestors who really only went inside to eat and sleep, our bodies our built to be outdoors rather than in. There are also several benefits to being outdoors, especially at a young age, many studies have shown that kids who grew up in a rural environment have much lower rates of allergies, asthma, and other health annoyances than those who grew up in a city. Spending time outdoors is good for everyone the sun is a vital source of vitamin D which help our immune system and the sun's rays are really the best disinfectants we have access to. Even those of us with pollen allergies can benefit from spending time out there, many people know that raw local honey is great for their allergies but they don't realize that the reason for that is because that honey will contain very small amounts of the pollen they are allergic to, the raw honey is not an antidote for the allergies but rather a way for a person to gain immunity through exposure. Being outside when pollen levels are high is certainly less pleasant than eating honey but it is likely to produce a similar immunity over time (just don't stay out long enough to become uncomfortable).

Given this information we should all try to spend as much time outside as possible, I go on at least one walk a day and I occasionally will do work on my computer outside and since my main computer is a Thinkpad T420 any text editor set to a dark mode is unusable to me in the sunlight, when outside I need to switch to a light mode with a fairly high contrast to be able to see what I am typing. This is the utility of light mode, unlike what reddit may say light mode it not just for serial killers, it is also useful for people who like to work outside from time to time, which should be all of us. But of course, please remember to switch back to a reasonable color scheme when you go back inside.