ArXiv's Bright Future: Introducing Dark Mode and Accessibility Improvements

ArXiv, the popular repository of scientific articles, is rolling out a new feature that will make accessing articles on the platform easier for mobile users. The addition of a dark mode is expected to enhance the reading experience for many users. Although there is no toggle option for this feature, the dark mode is set to render automatically based on the system mode.


The introduction of dark mode is a significant step towards making arXiv more accessible on mobile devices. With the increasing number of users accessing content on smartphones and tablets, this update will make it more convenient for individuals to read articles without straining their eyes.

One suggestion that has been put forward by users is the option for authors to upload their own HTML versions of their papers alongside the existing PDF format. This would allow authors to maintain control over the formatting of their work and address any issues that may arise in the HTML version. Currently, authors have limited options for modifying the automatically converted HTML version if errors or discrepancies occur.

However, there are concerns regarding the implementation of such a feature. One primary issue is ensuring consistency and accuracy between the LaTeX/PDF source and the user-uploaded HTML version. Maintaining a “single source of truth” is essential to avoid confusion and discrepancies. Although bugs and compatibility issues can be fixed, the process would be fragile and potentially introduce unintended errors.

Additionally, the suggestion to allow authors to experiment with alternative formatting for their papers raises questions about the integrity of the content. While interactive elements and sandbox features may enhance the reading experience, it is crucial to ensure that the core article remains the authoritative source of information.

Moreover, the discussion around accessibility for individuals with disabilities, particularly the blind, is also relevant. Accessing articles in PDF format can be challenging for these individuals, as the semantic information is often lost. ArXiv’s move towards providing HTML versions of papers, which can be read by screen readers, is a step in the right direction. However, there is room for improvement in the accessibility of mathematical equations, particularly in formats like Kindle and screen readers.

Additionally, some users have proposed further enhancements to the platform, such as the inclusion of citation links and discussion boards for each article. These features would provide a centralized space for readers and authors to engage in discussions and share additional resources related to the article.

While arXiv’s move towards implementing a dark mode and exploring accessibility solutions is commendable, there are still areas for improvement. The platform should continue to prioritize user feedback and stay abreast of technological advancements to ensure that it remains a valuable resource for the scientific community.

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