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Dark Theme/Dark Mode for Canvas

Dark Theme/Dark Mode for Canvas

(165)

Hello all! I am a student, and I am here to suggest an idea that I thought would make Canvas more personalized. I think a dark theme would be great for Canvas since some students like to stay up at night (not me), and the bright white light from Canvas can hurt their eyes. The main reason why I want it is because it would look better on my computer. Youtube and Google have these options, why not Canvas? Thank you for reading!

226 Comments
awilliams
Community Champion

Hi matthew.keating21 Welcometo the Canvas Community. You are definitely not the first to bring this up as a feature idea. In fact, there was another idea, https://community.canvaslms.com/ideas/9569 It was recently archived so I thank you for taking the time to bring this back up for voting. There are a number of good solutions that you can use now in the comments of that idea that I will quote below. If you'd like to delve deeper into the Community check out the Getting Started‌ page. Hope these comments will help and we see you around! Cheers!

From  @klundstrum ‌:

In the meantime, have you tried the Chrome Extension Screen ShaderDark Reader, or Night Mode Pro? I also love these Gamma Ray Glasses that reduce eye strain from blue light and screen glare. Both of these options may be more immediate fixes for you!

Bobby2
Community Coach
Community Coach

I'm voting for this due to the number of kids I'm seeing with diagnosed Irlen Syndrome. https://irlen.com/what-is-irlen-syndrome/  

Thanks for the idea  @matthew_keating 

matthew_keatin1
Community Member

Thank you! And I didn't realize what Irlen Syndrome was until you brought it to my attention, very good point. 

ronmarx
Community Contributor

Very nice feature suggestion to further UDL principles and promote Canvas at the same time!  @Bobby2 ‌,  @matthew_keating ‌

jschofield
Community Participant

Would really like to see this option available in the future.

kelly_huang
Community Member

As someone who is colorblind (all reds and most dark blues), I have found that using white or light themes are worse on my eyes for viewing content. The added customization of providing our own hex code for the calendar feature is great, but a dark theme would become easier to view the necessary components that we as students need to see to access our classes. I would love to have the option of a dark/night theme for those of us who have color deficiencies. 


I access the mobile version of Canvas quite often, so the solutions about the chrome extensions do not apply to this app.

Thank you!

scottdennis
Community Team
Community Team

Thank you for coming here and contributing this helpful feedback and  @kelly_huang  Welcome to the Canvas Community!

dlyons
Instructure
Instructure

The majority of Canvas (in terms of screen real estate, particularly the black text on a white background part) is content created by instructors and students. That means for dark mode to be effective Canvas would have to modify user created content which could potentially make it difficult or impossible to use depending on the nature of that content. This is no small task technologically since, unlike say Twitter, Canvas users can create rich content that can't safely just have it's colors inverted.

However, what I'm more interested in isn't the technical feasibility, but how instructors (and students!) would feel knowing their content may not be displayed as they created it.

Note: This is just an academic exercise because I'm curious what the community thinks. 🙂 

laurakgibbs
Community Champion

It's already the case that content is not displayed as we create it given that we might be working on a desktop, and our students might be viewing on mobile. The way Canvas deals with that is through really huge decisions that you make about the design architecture and what you do, and do not, let us do as users (and I'm speaking about individual users whose choices are very much constrained, as opposed to admins who do get in there and mess with the CSS).

So I think in the same way that there has been a push for both accessibility and for usability across platforms, it would make sense to have a variety of CSS templates to choose from, so that the users could choose. I'm a long-time user of Blogger and over the year they have greatly expanded the range of templates that you can use to display content there, and each template comes with a full range of CSS so that the "same" content displays very nicely in templates that are light (which I prefer) or templates that are dark (which many of my students prefer).

The design constraints and consequences for light versus dark are much less daunting than the design challenges for desktop versus mobile display, so my guess is that this is very do-able; it's just a question of how much energy/effort Instructure would want to put into that.

Anyway, I personally think it would be GREAT if students could choose the display theme, light or dark, that works best for them, either because of personal reading preferences OR because of specific reading circumstances (like reading at night).

laurakgibbs
Community Champion

P.S. Just two quick screenshots of Blogger theme developer. I almost always use light themes, but I do use one dark theme. Screenshots below: top is a light theme, bottom is a dark theme -- if I wanted to change my dark blog to light or vice versa, the content would be fine because Blogger is running all the top-level CSS, just as Instructure (plus admins) run the top-level CSS for Canvas content (there are about a dozen main themes, and then variations within those themes -- a tiny sliver compared to the world of WordPress but to be honest I like that about Blogger; it's less overwhelming).

light blog theme

dark blog theme

sydneye_trombly
Community Member

Hey Matthew, 

I think this is a great idea. I often ask students to do a lot of reading online. While I would like to think that my students are all doing this right after school, the reality is that they typically spend a lot of their nights doing other things, and by the time they get to my homework, it is late and their eyes are tired. By making this feature available I feel that my students, who often complain that they are tired, would be able to feel more successful and supported in their learning platform. 

christian1_gree
Community Member

This is a wonderful idea. Students will be more interested in the dark theme because it reminds them of what they are most interested in, video games.

david_dunn
Community Member

Matthew, adding a dark theme to Canvas is a great idea. Especially for someone with eyesight issues and that works on the computer late at night. It would be great since it reminds them of games and just seeing something different is refreshing. Computers can cause many uncomfortable eye-related symptoms such as eyestrain, dry eyes, headache, fatigue, difficulty focusing, blurred vision, and shoulder and neck pain. Good idea Matthew!!

popeel
Community Member

Reading a lot of the comments on here I see some good points but nothing quite pointing to a huge problem for me and likely many other people: small black text over a white background can irritate and worsen already present visual strain and other eye related health issues. 

Due to certain health and eye issues right now, reading black text over white background causes blinding migraines and headaches near constantly. An hour working on Canvas on a bad day could cause me extreme pain and nausea for the rest of the day. Honestly just typing this is giving me a bit of a headache! All the other apps and websites I use regularly either have dark modes or ways to edit the backgrounds to help with that sort of thing. I also need to zoom in normally to make the text bigger - I can see it perfectly fine right now, but it still causes eye strain.

I think Canvas would ABSOLUTELY benefit from having a dark mode and perhaps some way of making the text bigger for people with any number of visual problems ALONGSIDE how many people are on Canvas during dark hours when their eyes are more susceptible to straining. After all, I'm hardly the only person to have constant eye strain! It's a factor I think a lot of people don't consider when they suggest these sort of things. 

I used Canvas in the past and had no problems, but the eye issues have developed since then. I've been rather nervous starting up classes now because I couldn't find any way to modify the screen. I'm going to attempt finding other browser modifiers but it would be much easier for me and probably others as well if Canvas had a built in way to do these things. 

Thank you a lot for making this discussion! I think it's something people need to think of more when designing websites. 

jschofield
Community Participant

In Edge(Firefox and Chrome) you can install a dark mode extension, lets hope Instructor can get a working version for canvas. Dark Mode example 

isherman-youngb
Community Member

As I'm sitting working through a stack of final essays right now, my eyes are telling me they really wish Canvas had a dark mode I could use to reduce the strain I'm feeling. 

rbrindle1
Community Member

Please do this the white background is so harsh on the eyes especially on shared college computers where you don't change the settings to your preference. Bright white backgrounds + bright room lighting = headache after the first hour... welcome to the next 2 hours.

gljohns6
Community Member

Hi, Instructor and graduate student here. Big-time upvote from me for dark mode. 

edgardrodrigues
Community Participant

What an amazing idea!

I believe the programmers would love it!

Jeff_F
Community Champion

This may be useful to someone --    f.lux: software to make your life better