Editorial Insights

Addicted To Your Device? Try Going Black… and White.


Image ©: CouponRajaOne of the things that most engages consumers whenever a new phone comes out is the screen resolution. Ironically, achieving that resolution and brightness requires some of the more toxic chemicals in your smartphone.

The competition for your attention

The development of wider range of colors and brighter, sharper displays has created a twist on the old adage “location, location, location.” Apps compete for your interest on a platform that is insanely small. The typical icons are only between 50 and 100 pixels square—less than a 1/2 inch—in most cases. And when space is that limited, app developers resort to using some tricks.

Many of these tricks are actually encouraged by Apple, in their developer guide. According to Apple, the best apps need “a beautiful and memorable icon that attracts attention in the App Store and stands out on the Home screen.” Internally, we know that the development of these icons at Apple is a life journey of chasing details.

So, what are these tricks? Turns out, when dealing with limited visual space, color has more impact than almost anything else in that space. And, remember, the science of how our brains deal with color has long been explored—I mean, we all grew up learning that red colors are "warmer" than blue, right?

But the findings go deeper than that. Color doesn’t just affect our moods, it can hijack our decisions, drive us to action, and even dictate our behavior. Vibrant colors stimulate purchases and whether or not to tap on that icon. Combine that with the spiritual experience of certain brands, and the odds are stacked against you resisting that app.

But I don’t want to be coerced, what can I do?

Luckily, if you are not interested in having your brain chemistry called to action without your consent, you can adjust the display for a purely democratic experience. By turning your screen over to black and white, all the apps and icons have equal standing.

Of course, this makes seeing those variations that are important nearly impossible (I thought that was just a flag, not unread!), but it might give you a feeling of nostalgia back to the days of the PDA. One thing’s for certain, when I did this, it was far easier to leave my phone idle, allowing me to capture those micro-moments--typically lost to mindless thumbing--throughout my day.

Consequently, my findings happen to match some other studies on the subject. Despite the dry experience of a black and white phone, the results in behavior are actually fairly impressive. It seems there is a growing interest in reducing the strains that our devices are putting on our physiology.

If you are finding that your day begins and ends with your eyes pasted to that tiny screen, then it might be time to take a journey to the dark side. Try changing your display to greyscale for a few days. See if you don’t discover a new perspective on life—or, at least, regain some control of your usage. Who knows? You might see something you’ve been missing—in living color.

Tell us your story. Have you tried this kind of drastic measure to gain some control over the screens that dictate your day? Do you have a certain app that you simply can’t resist tapping? Or do you think these devices are at our service, not the other way around? Tell us how you deal with the IT that we’ve all come to depend on by leaving a comment on one of our social channels.

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