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FOCUS

 

iOS notifications redesign

September 2020,
Just Design Designathon

OBJECTIVE

Create a product with a positive social impact

CONSTRAINTS

A 44 hour time period; remote collaboration with a team of three other designers (and strangers to each other)

MY TEAM

Sophie Chour Kaplan
Shanna Gerlach
Joanna Hu
Aishwarya Tare

MY ROLES

Primary contributions:
i
deation & development, copywriting, user research, welcome page and landing page design, flow design, prototyping, iOS visual language

FINAL PRODUCT

Psychologically manipulative tactics to increase our engagement with phones and apps have been  intentionally  and  unethically  designed into the fabric of our technology. We believe it's the responsibility of the tech industry to  reverse the negative social impact  of these designs to give users back control over their behaviors and usage time.

USER RESEARCH

For most of us, checking our phones has become somewhat of a ritual habit, and inextricable from our daily routines.

 

We found that nearly 3 out of 4 people start their days by checking their phone.

 

Over 92% are on their phones until less than half an hour before they go to sleep. For 64% of people, under ten minutes separate their phone-time from their bedtime.

The red notification dots on my phone stress me out– I have a bad habit of going into apps just to clear them, then getting sidetracked and realizing my intended 20 seconds has turned into 20 minutes. Unsurprisingly, they're working exactly how they were designed to, in order to capture as much of our attention as possible.

WHICH FEATURES OF YOUR PHONE CAUSE YOU TO USE IT LONGER OR MORE OFTEN THAN YOU PLAN?

"Clearing notifications"

Our research showed that I'm not alone. 67% of our participants indicated that one or more forms of visual notifications stress them out, and many cited notifications as a main reason they use their phones more often or longer than intended.

"The notification dots bug me"

"It's hard to do one singular task. Like if I could just do everything from my notifications panel, I would. Because the moment I open the app, my eyes get distracted by all the other stuff. I just want like hyperfocused information from one LinkedIn post, one email, one text, one Instagram post."

SOLUTION

Focus: a redesign of iOS’s notification system that respects human psychology by allowing notification badges to be dealt with or cleared without needing to fully enter apps, and hosting all priority notifications in one spot to make badges unnecessary once sorted. We also explored the possibility of getting rid of red badges altogether, and simply storing all notifications in the Focus app.

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©2020 by Shanna Gerlach