Android App: Why remove the light theme??

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  • Updated 2 years ago
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  • (Edited)
I understand many love their dark themes, but why has IMDb assumed that's the case for everyone? The latest app update has removed the light theme in favour of the dark. Why? That makes absolutely no sense, and with that one blunder, the app has become unusable for me.

Hopefully you'll put theme options in the app...as should have been done with this update.
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sar40

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Posted 4 years ago

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Heather

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Hello,

I’m Heather, the Product Manager for the IMDb Android app and I’d like to address your questions around the switch to the dark theme in v6.1.4.

We did not make the decision to switch to a dark theme lightly and we know some people will prefer one theme over another. Many factors went into the decision, including customer requests for a dark theme and comparative usage data of the dark vs. the light theme in our iOS app. Those requests and data showed a strong preference for a dark theme.

We also considered how people use the app. We know many of you use the app while watching shows at home and a dark theme doesn’t require your eyes to adjust back to the screen and is less distracting to other people in the room, especially if you watch shows in the dark like I do.

As the team talked through this change, we also evaluated providing an option like we do in iOS to choose between themes. We decided against this because two themes means doubled design, development, and quality assurance work for the user experience in every release going forward. Doing the duplicate work to support two themes takes time away from working on other features customers have requested, like editable lists, (coming very soon!)

Thank you for using the IMDb Android app and I hope you'll give the dark theme a week or so!

Heather
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julia

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I can't watch shows in the dark and can't see the dark screen at a theater so I wait to watch everything at home. your change to the dark theme has added yet another dark area where I can't see. please provide an option where those of us who need light can enjoy imdb like we used to be able to do.
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Eric Kapenstein

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Heather, I don't care about your other plans. I just want to use an app that's easy to see. I don't turn up my screen'saver brightness just to waste battery and I don't dislike the dark theme just because it's new. Please bring back a light theme and stop treating users like lemmings.
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Eric Kapenstein

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*screen's brightness
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Sylvia Starshine

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No, many of us cannot read the dark theme. We should have been given a choice. And this oanderes to oikes who use their phones in cinemas
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C LaGuire

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Heather. This is not about preferences. I LITERALLY CANNOT SEE THE TEXT ON YOUR PAGES.  Please, give us an option of plain text or something. This new interface is really really really bad. I now use Wikipedia as my "go to" place for movie and credits info, because it is so very frustrating to use IMDb.  Wikipedia is so much easier, you don't have to hunt for the info you want, and you can read it any way you need.  But sometimes I forget and click on IMDb first and I am always sorry.
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sar40

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While I wasn't clear in my post, like jeannie above, it's not about aesthetics. For me the high contrast cause by white text on a black background leads to severe eyestrain and headaches, and quite quickly. And I can guarantee that I am not the only one. I have a feeling you didn't have good sample data when you decided to make this change.

I care little about the development costs, to be frank. I only care that you've removed a feature and made your app unusable for me and, very likely, many others. I hope the team reconsiders.
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Jeannie

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I get the eye strain and headaches from it, but it looks like gray on gray to me - unreadable.
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julia

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I have a horrible time reading the new dark version. eye strain and lack of contrast make it unbearable. please go back.
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Heather

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Jeannie and sar40,

Thank you both for following up and sharing more details about your experiences with the app.

Accessibility and usability are very important to us and reports like yours help us better understand where we can do better in the future, particularly when we blend the science (industry standards or customer data) with the art (making a judgement call about what to do) to make the final product.

On the science front, the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (https://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG20/), which also apply to mobile apps, call for general minimum contrast ratios of 4.5:1 and 7:1 for enhanced viewing. The heading text contrast ratio in the app is now 10.57:1 and main text is 8.22:1. For reference, black on white or white on black text has a contrast ratio of 21:1.

(http://webaim.org/resources/contrastchecker/ allows you to evaluate the contrast ratio for different combinations of foreground and background colors. Our background color is #303030, heading text is #E6E6E6, and main text is #CCCCCC.)

Obviously the standards don't address your personal requirements. I've shared your feedback with our design and development team to consider how to address for future releases of the app.

Thank you again for using IMDb.

Heather
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Maynard M

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The dark theme gives me headaches and it's hard to read anything. Change back to light!!!
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Nobody

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... Obviously the standards don't address your personal requirements. ...
FWIW, one of the W3C "Understanding WCAG 2.0"  documents
includes a note that says:   "... we allow and encourage authors
to provide mechanisms"  [that enable users]  "to adjust the
foreground and background colors ...."
(Edited)
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Lisa

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Wow - I can't believe that Android users are written off and not worth the time and development effort - very disappointed in IMDB's decision. I realize you can't watch anything from Hollywood without some kind of "Apple Logo" in it, but I didn't realize that developers would think the number of Android users versus Apple users is a very small part of the Universe and that we are of little consideration. Android users are much more accustomed to having the ability to tailor their devices and not having the ability to select a light vs dark theme is unacceptable. Not all of us live our lives in the dark. I hope IMDB reconsiders this and adds this simple choice to the settings of their app very soon. If it's worth the time and development effort for Apple users, then it certainly should be worth the time and development effort for Android users.
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Matt Brigham

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Why is this so difficult. We just want the appearance back to what it was.

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