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Hack: Dark Mode for D2L Brightspace

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While the 2016 Brightspace interface uplift for D2L was a welcome improvement in UI, there were immediate comments about it being too bright. For the last several years, we’ve had requests from students and faculty for a “Dark Mode” that allowed you to invert the colors and give your eyes some relief. We submitted feature requests; we even launched a parody of the platform called Darkspace. But there hasn’t been any movement on a dark mode.

I mean, I get it. There’s a difference between what you do with the Brightspace application and the content presented within it. If people have designed their courses to be aesthetically pleasing in the standard interface, inverting colors could have serious and/or unpredictable implications – both cosmetically and accessibility-wise.

But we recently learned of a Google Chrome browser hack that allows you to force dark mode on all sites. Again, this is a hack, not a recommended configuration change.

Enable Auto Dark Mode in Google Chrome
  1. In Chrome, type chrome://flags into the address bar and hit Enter.
  2. This will open the Experiments page. In the Search flags box and type “dark”.
  3. You’ll see an option labeled Auto Dark Mode for Web Contents.
  4. Select Enable (you can try different configurations) and Relaunch
  5. Click Relaunch to restart the browser with the new dark mode applied.
Enabling Dark Mode in Google Chrome's experimental settings.
A few caveats

Hopefully, our use of the word “Hack” and there being a caveat section indicate that this is not a supported or recommended approach. In fact, this may actually be a horrible idea. It affects all pages in Chrome, which you probably don’t want. And it doesn’t meet WCAG or ADA compliance for color contrast. But based on feedback from a few folks, we thought we’d share it. If you try it and like it, let us know!

Darkspace 🤘

Your Mileage May Vary. I for one, need to pick an avatar with a transparent background.

The My Home page in D2L Brightspace with Dark Mode enabled. Your Mileage May Vary.

About Andy Freed

I'm the Director of Learning Technology & Innovation (LTI!), where I oversee our infrastructure, technical support, and online student services teams. I've been with the College since 2001 and have worked in several positions, from tech... more »

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