Introducing Dark Mode

January 28, 2022 • 2 min read

Dark Mode has arrived in Orca. Carefully designed to balance chart legibility and night vision.

Navigating at dusk or night can be a fantastic experience when you are in control and well prepared. However, challenging conditions can make night boating stressful or even dangerous.

It takes up to 30 minutes to fully adapt our eyes for night vision – and just a quick glance at a bright light source will reset it*. Keeping your night vision keen is important, so you want to reduce or remove as many light sources as possible aboard to keep your vision keen.

The Orca Display uses an ambient light sensor to automatically dim its display to dark conditions, just like your regular phone and tablet. While this is sufficient during dusk and morning, the high-contrast color palette of the charts and user interface still emits enough bright light to interfere with your night vision.

To solve this, we built Dark Mode.

The new experience

Dark mode changes the color palette of the charts and the user interface in Orca. We've chosen a dark red color palette as red light has the least deteriorating effect on night vision.

The Orca Charts has been redesigned from the ground for night navigation.

Because we build and design Orca charts in-house, we are able to tailor the chart design to the Orca Display and the most commonly used tablets and smartphones in use. This makes Dark Mode highly legible, yet easy on your eyes.

Every single chart element, icon, and symbol have been carefully reviewed and updated for Dark Mode – and important information for night sailing, such as light characteristics have been given more emphasis.

Dark Mode closely follows our overall chart design philosophy. We strive to make our charts as legible as possible at all scales and any conditions. We remove clutter and emphasize the important elements. This makes it easy to separate safe areas from those of danger.

We didn't stop with the charts. The entire navigation system now supports dark mode – including the brand new Instrument Panels.

All screens, including the new instrument panel, are now easy on the eyes and legible during night navigation.

Dark when it matters

By default, Dark Mode automatically activates when your Orca Display, tablet, or phone is dimmed to 10% of its maximum brightness. If you have multiple screens aboard, each screen will individually dim and enter into Dark Mode based on its current brightness.

You can change this behavior via Settings > Display.

* "Sensory Reception: Human Vision: Structure and function of the Human Eye" vol. 27, p. 179 Encyclopædia Britannica, 1987

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