Dark Mode on iPhone 8: the iPhone without borders

With Dark Mode in iOS for the next iPhone, 2017 could be all about killing the four sides of your screen and making it all about your thumb.

Not just about inverting white and black pixels

Dark mode’s potential is much bigger than what its name might suggest. Presumably, combined with OLED screen technology in a higher end 2017 iPhone, it’s the logical mode to make every pixel feel like it’s coming alive just for the user at the right time, at the right place on the screen. And possibly a signature look for Apple’s iPhone 10 year anniversary.

As dark as dark gets: borderless experience

Going dark will massively smoothen contrast between the edge of the screen and the bezel. In fact it will be indistinguishable as the OLED empowered pixels will not emit any light, which regular screens do.

Work from black

What this means for UI designers will be that you won’t start from a blank art board in sketch, working your way down from top left to bottom right, but rather from a dark slate, in the centre working out towards full black.

User-centred design: thumb-centred designed

Let me correct myself. As much as the centre of the screen will become the new norm, the best designers will start from the position of the thumb at the bottom of the screen to make experiences always more about the user completing a core action and less about a user using a rectangular piece of technology.

Not re-designing for Dark could mean distracting your users

With a borderless screen and flush sides, every classic layout reminding the users that they are interacting with a rectangle will be an unnecessary way of taking them out of the experience, even for a microsecond. And these things add up. Last month, stories for the Apple Park epic construction site revealed how Apple had designed doorways to be perfectly flat, with no threshold. According to a former construction manager:

If engineers had to adjust their gait while entering the building, they risked distraction from their work.
image: Foster + Partners

I remember reading this thinking that was a bit intense, but later that day, as I was talking with a colleague I realised how a slightly slower than usual revolving door in our building made us pause our conversation, which we didn’t resume afterwards. And it made sense to me. These things matter.

I am really looking forward to seeing what Apple has under wraps for WWDC as well as the iPhone anniversary in September. I’d be curious to discover what other fantastic experiences dark mode will enhance. In the meantime have a look at my gallery below and check out the concept video with all the mockups.

background Photos — unsplash.com