Taking the grayscale challenge
Story by Anthony Trujillo / Photo illustration by Kaitlin Sessions
Color is a pleasing aesthetic that we enjoy having in our lives. Not only does color play an important role in the overall aesthetic of our present space, it can also impact our mood, emotional well-being, productivity, learning, and behavior.
A common feature of smartphones is the colorful, popping, and eye-distracting apps that fill the space on our screens. Have you ever thought about why your eyes keep checking these colorful apps so much? In the article The underestimated power of color in mobile app design Nick Babich says that users are more susceptible to certain color combinations because they attract the attention of users and increase engagement. But all this increased engagement comes with a downside – according to Common Sense Media half of all teens surveyed admitted to being addicted to their phones.
So I tried a little experiment, called the grayscale challenge.
The grey scale challenge? What is it, you ask? Well, for starters many of our iPhones come with an interesting feature to help modify your brain from checking your phone 47 times a day. The challenge is changing your phone's settings so that the screen displays in shades of gray instead of showing color. Using the grayscale could help you avoid mindless checking of apps, which could have the influential effect of making you a calmer, more present person. My suggestion: use grayscale on your home screen, but switch to color once you have purposely opened an app like Snapchat.
Here's how your iPhone will look after you switch to grayscale.
When I took part in the grayscale challenge my first impression when switching my phone from color to now gray was distressing to my eyes. As I went on my day I slowly saw that I used my phone to check and do clickless checks on apps a lot less. I found that for myself I didn't have the same pleasure when seeing the now-colorless apps on my phone, and I saw them rather as informational apps like a newspaper. My brain now started associating these apps as less of pleasure and more of checking for information. The only downside I had when doing the challenge would be the sense of having a new phone. What I mean is that after tuning on the grayscale, I felt like I had new phone for some reason. I kept thinking it wasn’t my phone, let alone a device to use for fun.
I see lots of perks turning your phone on the grayscale. I was able to enjoy life more. When I looked up from my phone, I experienced people and noticed the world around me more.