2 weeks of Monochromacy

It all started with a tweet.

My phone is now two years old and I was looking for the next thing out there because I am bored with my phone and I really don’t want to buy a new phone. I am pretty sure this is the first time in my life I have actually not wanted to buy new hardware, even if I have the chance.

I like my Nexus 5X, but I had to do something to keep it interesting. Enter, Monochromacy.

Full disclosure: I have had ~150 tabs open on my phone browser for as long as I can remember. I never found the time to either read everything or send them to Pocket and forget about it for a year. I was reading a little bit too much news lately. My goal with this change was two-fold:

2 weeks on, I think I have achieved both these aims and I am ready to continue with this experiment for a little bit longer.

The main question that comes to your mind if you haven’t done this before is probably “How drastic of a change is Monochromacy really?” Not a lot.

Almost nothing in today’s vanilla Android feature set depends on color. You can still send messages, read emails, visit web pages, scroll through the infinite time sink that calls itself Instagram, play a game like MMM Fingers. You can still take color pictures (they will appear black and white on your phone, but they are actually color. this is definitely not a doubt I had when I took my first picture after turning on monochromacy).

The two things that became unusable were (a) Read receipts on apps like Whatsapp and Signal and (b) several of Instagram’s features. Read receipts are self-explanatory, the double tick simply changes color and this is something that won’t be detectable at a glance, you can still go into message details or something and check this.

Instagram has several features which become unusable without color. It has a too-good-to-be-true editing screen in the Story section. The annotation capabilities; drawing, adding text, backgrounds etc. All the features are very powerful, but can only be used in Black and White (you can’t use any other color as these might have low contrast and not be visible on color screens. You must stick to Black and White). Filters also become pretty cumbersome to use because it’s not easy to predict how exactly the photo is going to look.

All in all, it has been a productive change. I have been reading more books (maybe because they are more interesting?) and I have been scrolling less through time sink applications (because I have grown out of it? Stop kidding yourself, human) I intend to stick with this.