What is the “grayscale” setting for in accessibility options?
August 4, 2017 4:29 PM   Subscribe

Looking through the accessibility options on a Mac or iPhone, I can guess at the kinds of issues most of them might alleviate. But I can’t quite work out what problem is solved by changing the entire screen to grayscale. Does anyone here prefer this setting, or know someone who does? Can you briefly explain how it helps? Please pardon my prying/ignorance.
posted by Ryon to Computers & Internet (10 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
posted by Thorzdad at 4:31 PM on August 4, 2017 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Some folks advocate it as a way to reduce the phone's power to distract.
posted by box at 4:32 PM on August 4, 2017 [1 favorite]

Perhaps to help with migraine or epilepsy triggers? Flashing colors can trigger a seizure while as many colors are of similar brightness if you were to put them in grayscale.

(I do not have epilepsy so correct me if I'm wrong.)
posted by Crystalinne at 4:34 PM on August 4, 2017 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Think of it as a way for a developer to test accessibility for the colorblind, not for the colorblind to use themselves.
posted by Wolfdog at 4:34 PM on August 4, 2017

Best answer: So, I've got ADHD and sensitive eyes and I wasn't aware of this setting. I just turned it on, went back to my homescreen, and went, "Oh! That's so much nicer." Two reasons: one, it's much easier on the eyes. Like wow. Maybe it's a placebo effect, but not having tons of neon colors is much easier for me to look at. Two, it's much less distracting. I feel much less overwhelmed by everything that's happening on the screen, and in general don't feel as much of a compulsion to click on and open things randomly, like I usually do.

Totally anecdotal, but I guess now you've just found someone who prefers it? Thanks for introducing me to it!
posted by brook horse at 5:10 PM on August 4, 2017 [5 favorites]

Yes, it's for people who are colorblind or have other visual differences. (There may be a bonus for screen distraction issues or power saving, but that is its primary use.) Feel welcome to memail me for additional online accessibility resources if you're curious!
posted by hapaxes.legomenon at 5:10 PM on August 4, 2017

Back when I painted more, I would use it to look quickly at the values of an in-progress painting to make sure I was getting my light and shadow right (by setting the phone to greyscale and then pointing the camera at the painting). Sort of like a digital version of looking through red acetate to determine value.
posted by daniel striped tiger at 5:25 PM on August 4, 2017 [3 favorites]

Best answer: I've totally used it if I'm feeling "seizure-y". I have photo-sensitive epilepsy. Ys(eizures)mv
posted by whowearsthepants at 7:16 PM on August 4, 2017 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Without getting into personal medical details I can say that color blindness is usually a misnomer, and color deficiency is far more common especially among males. It's a lot of fun when a Web site wants you to cue on Red for wrong and Green for great. But I agree with those above who cite other medical situations plus the ability to use it as a developer tool for the programmer to check the usability of the screen without relying on color cues. Note also that my Play Station 4 has a similar setting FWIW.
posted by forthright at 7:17 AM on August 5, 2017

Best answer: I have photo-triggered ocular migraines and wish everything had a greyscale option. Even better a red or violet scale, but that is probably very specific to me.
posted by buildmyworld at 9:24 AM on August 7, 2017

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