No, it’s not the Game of Thrones kind—it’s the monochromatic display you get when you turn off “color” on your devices. Why on earth would you do so? According to Thomas Z. Ramsoy, CEO of Neurons, a business that uses brain scans and eye tracking to study how a consumer interacts with technology, you would do so to reintroduce choice and combat digital addiction.
Ramsoy says that companies use colors to encourage subconscious decisions. What that means in practice is that you might want to open email but will end up on Instagram, having seen its colorful button. New research confirms the importance of color to our understanding of priorities and emotion.
“You don’t buy black-and-white cereal boxes, you buy the really stimulating colored one, and these apps have developed really cool tiles, cool shapes, cool colors, all designed to stimulate you,” says Mack McKelvey, CEO of SalientMG and senior marketing counsel for technology companies.
Tristan Harris, former design ethicist at Google and founder of the non-profit Time Well Spent, compares the lure of your phone to that of a slot machine. He says that technology is engineered to be addictive and hijack our attention, and he recommends making the screen a little less stimulating by sticking to shades of gray.
Bob Barnett, editor of Bottom Line Personal, has been doing so for more than three months. “I love it. It’s quieter, simpler, less…alerty….Have I conquered my digital addiction? Not really. I still reach for my phone too much. But it’s less like a toy, so it’s easier to let it go more often.”
Give it a try if you’re feeling tethered to your devices. It might help you feel less driven by others’ agendas