For some years now, digital products have been able to change our behavior and habits, "for better or for worse".
According to a study by Internet Trends, smartphone users unlock their phones on average 150 times a day.
Even more alarming, according to a study by Trendhunter, 66% of the population shows signs of nomophobia: an extreme addiction to mobile phones.
The negative causes of prolonged smartphone use are numerous:
- Reduction of attention ;
- Creation of addictions;
- Promotion of misinformation;
- Suppression of social interaction;
- Creation of a skewed view of the world.
The temptation to blame the users is great: we often hear that we have to "control ourselves" or "keep things in perspective".
In reality, it is very hard not to become addicted when thousands of people are working to make us addicted to each application. Features are researched and tested for months with the sole aim of making us stay longer, and it works.
Digital products are simply designed to make us addicted. A real war for attention is being waged before our eyes every day. The victory is won by the one who grabs the most brain time.
Companies always have an objective, and that objective is often linked to growth needs. This is even the difference between a company and an association: the objective is very often profitability for a company.
Mobile applications are therefore designed so that users achieve the company's objective. The users' problems are then diverted to benefit the company at the same time. The design of the application is designed to influence the user's behavior passively: this is called attention design.
This is not necessarily a bad practice, except when the user no longer has the power to choose freely.
As Product Managers or Product Designers, we are the designers of tomorrow's digital world, we have the power to minimize the negative impacts of our creations on users.
Our digital tools must accompany us and enable us to achieve our goals. We should not have to completely cut ourselves off from the digital world to focus or open ourselves up to others. It's time for digital products to improve our lives, not damage them.