One week ago, I announced that I had set myself a challenge to use my phone in grayscale mode for a week. I had been procrastinating more than I would have liked on my phone, and I saw enabling grayscale mode as a potential way to reduce the time I spent engaged. Fewer colours -- particularly the red colour associated with notifications -- would be less distracting.
At first, this change was strange. I recall enabling grayscale mode a year or so ago only to stop after a day; the experience is entirely different. The colour cues on which I relied to some extent were either no longer there. Hacker News, with its signature orange banner at the top, was grey. Infographics that I saw on the web were grey. Destructive actions such as deleting a post were no longer red, a UX pattern that, after many years of using technology, is expected in my mind.
Watching television -- specifically, Seinfeld on Amazon Prime -- was a joyful experience. Seinfeld looked like a different show at first glance. The lack of colour really threw me off initially, but then I thought to myself "I don't mind this." I haven't watched full episodes of a television show in grayscale mode, as I usually have Seinfeld and other shows running on my phone in the background in the evenings, so perhaps my sentiments would be different if I were to watch a full television show in grayscale. Nevertheless, this was a notable experience.
Taking photos with grayscale was fascinating. I was experiencing scenes through the lens in grayscale but the ultimate saved photos are stored in colour. I haven't looked at many of the photos I have taken in the last week in color. I like the gray effect. Indeed, I found myself looking at some older photos and thinking to myself "I really like these in grayscale." Although, for deliberate photography -- such as may be conducted on travel to document the tip -- I suspect I would go back to using colour while taking photos.
I got used to the switch to grayscale rather quickly, and found myself remarking to one of the people who I had seen use grayscale that I "preferred" my phone this way. I found that, generally, I was looking to my phone less than normal. With that said, I was still looking at my phone more than I would like. That's why I have decided to take another step to make my phone less attractive and distracting: I'm taking a break from Instagram.
I messaged a friend and said that I wanted to take a break, then I decided that rather than ponder the change for longer I would delete the application and take a one week break. Without Instagram installed, I find myself looking at my phone almost out of instinct, despite my knowing that the restricted notification settings I have in place mean I'm going to get very few notifications in the day. I was going to take a photo to post on Instagram yesterday and I thought "I don't need to do this. I don't have the application installed." The quest to spend less time on my phone goes on. I opt to keep grayscale mode enabled. Colour me surprised at this experience (pun intended!).
Tagged in smartphones.
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