LIFULL increased user retention by over 10% with Dark theme

LIFULL Co., Ltd. offers a property database service in Japan and 57 other countries through their website and app, LIFULL HOME’S. Their business goal is “Becoming the best life-event database and solution company in the world.” They wondered whether adding dark theme support would improve user conversion and retention.

Example of the LIFULL app using its light theme Example of the LIFULL app using its dark theme

What LIFULL did

The directors, decision-makers, and engineers at LIFULL have actively adopted new technology. However, the idea to introduce Dark theme to their app originated with the engineers. They used the Android API and the preview mode in Android Studio to implement tests quickly. To validate the usability of their app in Dark theme, the designers at LIFULL used the color tool from the material design resources. This tool enables them to test the visibility of all the UI text during development.

LIFULL uses SVG extensively for resources, such as icons. The use of SVG made it easy to handle the color changes needed to accommodate Dark theme; all they needed to do was adjust the xml defining the graphics.

The results

Example of the LIFULL app using its light theme

The initial goal in providing Dark theme was to show they could respond quickly to new technologies and promote digital well-being by making use of the app at night a more comfortable experience for users. However, the test results indicated an improvement of over 10% in user retention for Dark theme users. After they launched, 21% of new registered users chose to use Dark theme.

Users who use the LIFULL HOME’s app regularly throughout the year also often use it at night, a fact revealed as a result of the analysis.

In the nine months following launch, LIFULL found some issues. The main issue was that the number of people using Dark theme at night was lower than the number of people giving the app permission to switch themes. LIFULL provided users who started the app at night the option to switch to the Dark theme. However, those people who used the app from daytime through to nighttime weren’t given the option to choose the Dark theme.

LIFULL solved these issues by adding a pop-up message to switch from Light to Dark theme for night use that displayed during the daytime. This change increased the use of Dark theme, with existing and new users using the app more.

The benefits of Dark theme

Supporting user accessibility is an important part of the Android mission. Android 10 and higher offers Dark theme, which applies to both the Android system UI and apps running on the device. Using Dark theme can reduce power consumption significantly, improve visibility for users with low vision and those who are sensitive to bright light, and make it easier for anyone to use a device in a low-light environment. Learn about taking advantage of Dark theme in your apps from the Android developer documentation.