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Setting your devices to Grayscale

April 14, 2019

Do you ever find yourself spending excesses of your time staring at your computer or phone? Everyone does, there's no limit to the amount of entertainment a phone or laptop can provide with a simple internet connection. A majority of apps and sites are built on and around user engagement and design is a huge part of that. If you check your phone twenty times a day or sit on YouTube for an hour or seven, YouTube wins and you got played. Unfortunately countless millions of us get played just like that every single day, (and we love it).

So what can be done? Grayscale, grayscale is the secret to beating internet addiction. The genius of it is in its brilliance and it's brilliance is in its simplicity. By simply turning your phone or computer grey and proceeding to use the the apps and devices you love to use so much you take away most of the satisfaction in using them. So much of an app's novelty is in programming the user to receive dopamine through engaging with a system of entertainingly coloured buttons that taking away the colour quickly makes the experience shallow and boring. Just like quitting cigarettes, do you think it would be easier to quit if you went cold turkey or if the experience of a cigarette no longer created and fulfilled an urge? Obviously the latter, in fact the most effective addiction removing treatments follow this principle.

The hook of scrolling through instagram memes is something deadly even without colour - it is almost inescapable. The ratio of my time spent on instagram with and without colour is something like 4 to 1.

The second colossus is the computer. Nearly half of my time at home is spent on the computer, and the overwhelming majority of that time is wasted. To a point where serious concentrated work on it becomes nearly impossible to sustain despite my own best efforts to do so. Without saturation however the computers power over the attention span becomes increasingly limited. Desaturated Youtube becomes something different, without the draw of coloured icons, clicking and watching through suggested videos becomes less of a novelty and more of a chore, reducing the average hour long session to something closer to a light skim.

Gaming also becomes moot with grayscale, although the core mechanics of gameplay retain most of their appeal the lustre of the entire product is lost. Without colour the design most games becomes harder to engage with. Where traditionally the enemy team would be coloured in red and the player in green or blue, in the world of grayscale everyone becomes just shades of gray - which in itself helps to provide a commentary on the meaninglessness of whichever conflict the game might be centred on.

Overall grayscale is an amazingly simple solution to very real problem. If you've ever been concerned about how much time you spend online or how many times you check your phone, you may be surprised by how little of a grip these things actually have over your time and how much more you can do with Grayscale enabled.