399 Days of Monochrome

FYI: Monochrome is a change to UX so my screenshots are in color
I highly recommend GoalTracker for my fellow Android users. I will say more about this another time.

399 days ago, I decided to dive in and use my phone in monochrome (everything is a shade from white to black).

The general idea is that lovely UX designers spend hours and hours of time trying to optimize the aesthetics of their operating system, application, etc. ( let alone advertisers and other content creators). If you want to have the most pleasurable experience on your device, you should surely avoid taking such drastic action as placing your phone in monochrome.

However, my goal was to try to reduce my addiction to my phone, and its associated content. I still use my phone a lot but this change has certainly curbed my usage, or at least prevented the beautiful Pixel 2 from giving me its optimally-engineered dopamine hits. 

I don’t have any data about my pre v. post monochrome usage. But I do know that when I recommend this change to people, they usually quit after a few days and their reason is “I hated it.

It seems probable to me that this hate is comparable to the experience I would have if I suddenly transitioned to decaf. The decreased brain stimulus would tempt me to switch back but, at some time scale, I’d probably just curb my [excessive] coffee intake in-general. 

I have now began to also utilize the Android Digital Wellness update to track my usage. I have primarily set barriers on using Tinder (god awful app but my dating life is abysmal in Rochester, NY), Brave, and other time sinks. 

We live in a brave new world and it’s unclear how much time we should spend on our devices or what trade-offs are worth making. I hope that you’ll join me in seeking to explore and develop stable, healthy norms for how we relate to our devices, the internet, and each other via [anti]social platforms. 

If you’re interested in experimenting with monochrome, here’s a guide for various devices.

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