I switched my phone to greyscale for a week. This is what happened.
Earlier this year I heard people were setting their phones to black and white. The idea was that it reduced the temptation of colour — it turned your phone from an addiction machine back into a functional tool.
I used my phone a lot, because I enjoyed it. It had become my main source of entertainment. I’d spend hours on Youtube, Reddit, Imgur — my retinas soaking up the millions of colours emitted by the retina screen. Why would I want to rob myself of that enjoyment?
Still, I was intrigued. How would lack of colour affect my experience? I decided to run a little experiment and enforce a colour ban for a week — here’s how I fared.
Day 1 — Shock
As soon as I made the switch the impact was huge.
The whole interface was muddy and dreary. Without colour to give focus, everything blended together. On the home screen I couldn’t find apps that I used every day — I realised I used colour to locate them rather than remembering their position. I felt myself having to exert mental effort to perform actions that I’d normally do without thinking.
Trying out a few apps I quickly realised a few of my old favourites were out of the question for the next week. I expected every video on Youtube to feel like a classic film noir. They didn’t. Memes are no fun in black and white — Imgur was a write off. Reddit should have been fine, but there’s so many colour images, it felt like I was missing part of the conversation. I quickly lost interest.
Day 3 — Bargaining
I was starting to enjoy this new world, but I wasn’t quite convinced.
Early evening I realised I had a message I hadn’t noticed all day. Something about the lack of colour on the lock screen made it much easier to miss. Initially I felt a little uneasy, but then grew used to the idea of lack of interruptions.
On the home screen, the app icon badges showing unread notifications were almost invisible with the bright red colour removed. Even when I did notice the badges, I didn’t feel the need to remove the marker by checking the app.
It felt liberating to be using the phone when I wanted rather than when the phone told me to, but I couldn’t shake the feeling that I might miss something important — the curse of FOMO.
Day 5 — Anger
I started to run into problems with the design of some apps.
Google Maps was tricky to use for navigation. It took far too much attention to tell the difference between road types. It was easy to confuse the selected route with alternative routes — they’re all subtly different greys — not something you want when driving.
Runkeeper was frustrating. Even though the stop and go buttons use different icons, at the end of a run my tired brain was just looking for a red button to stop the timer.
Discovering new content was difficult. I didn’t realise how much I used visual branding cues when choosing a new podcast to try. Without colour it was much harder to get an idea of the tone of a show.
Day 7 — Acceptance
By day 7 I noticed something funny. I’d catch myself picking up my phone, looking at it, realising I didn’t want to use it for anything and put it back down again.
I found myself paying greater attention to Netflix and enjoying it more. I was less likely to have a phone in my hand when having a conversation. I was more inclined to work on personal projects.
However, when I was by myself with no plans, I found myself bored.
Back to colour
At the end of the week it was time to switch back.
I was a little hesitant to return to colour. It felt like I was about to start smoking after finally kicking the habit. But my time was up, for the good of the experiment I needed to make the change.
As soon as I flipped the switch I was hit with the full sugar, surround sound blast of saturated colour. It was painful. Hyperactive. Overstimulating.
But before I knew it that wore off. I was back to normal, smoking 20 a day.
The long term
I ran my experiment in the spring. Now almost 6 months later, were there any lasting effects?
Well, I have a new phone now. When I was getting it up and running I paid much more attention to the settings than I have previously. I considered which apps I allowed to send notifications. I decided against installing Reddit and Imgur — and feel better for it. I left the colour turned on and set the brightness to maximum.
Source link https://uxplanet.org/a-week-without-colour-cc8a71dab6d3?source=rss—-819cc2aaeee0—4