Facebook is finally letting desktop users opt-in to dark mode. Facebook told international media that “starting today, [yesterday] the majority of people on Facebook will have access to the new desktop design.” This includes dark mode, which can be toggled on and off via the Settings drop-down menu.
Facebook finally lets desktop users opt-in to dark mode https://t.co/m2MgyaFHab
— Lizza Monét Morales #SpreadLove (@xoxoLizza) March 20, 2020
This has been in the works for a long time. Facebook first promised a cleaner and faster desktop interface at its F8 developers conference last spring. A limited number of users began testing the revamped design in January.
If you use Facebook’s desktop version, you’ll likely see a banner at the top of the page, asking if you want to try the “New Facebook.” For now, you can still switch back to “Classic Facebook” if you choose, but the redesign will become the default later this year.
Other changes include centralized tabs for Facebook Watch, Marketplace, Groups and Gaming. Even if users don’t like all aspects of the redesigned interface, dark mode will likely be popular. It’s already available in a number of Facebook-owned apps, including Messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp. Plus, there’s a good chance users are looking at their screens even more during the coronavirus pandemic, and this could help reduce some eyestrain.
Facebook first began testing the rollout publicly in October, and it seems positive feedback led it to today’s rollout. It comes just weeks after Facebook launched a sweeping redesign of Messenger that removed its Discover tab, demoting the visibility of businesses and chatbots. The company has spent the last two years promising to simplify its apps after a decade of making them more visually complex.
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The desktop redesign offers streamlined navigation through tabs for Groups, Marketplace, Watch and more atop the home screen. The home page and transitions also load more quickly. Larger fonts and more sensible layouts make getting around easier on the eyes.
Facebook is also making it faster to create Events, Pages, Groups and ads. You’ll actually be able to see a preview of what these things look like on mobile before you share them.
Most noticeably, Facebook’s new design brings dark mode, which can be toggled on and off through a switch in the Settings drop-down menu. It’s designed to minimize screen glare while maintaining contrast so you don’t blast your eyes with a white background while in a dim room.
Facebook is in the challenging position of actually still being popular 16 years after its launch. That means the desktop site has built up a ton of cruft as the company ships features that appeal to only subsets of its users. While on mobile, most of that extra stuff is shoved in a navigation drawer; on desktop, it’s all laid out and can overwhelm our senses. While most Facebooking happens on mobile now, keeping happy the hardcore desktop users who create tons of content for the social network is critical to its longevity and its ad views.