Gone Fishing: Part III

Conclusion

Reflections

After speaking with users who aren’t designers and consulting with people who happen to be users as well as designers, I found myself looking at social media platforms from a different perspective than I did when I started this case study.

Sometimes, we, as users, tend to blame the software for implications that are just as much the fault of the human condition as they are the designers. As designers, we want to attract and retain the attention of users; it’s the name of the game. The unfortunate fallout from this desire is that we might be negatively impacting the mental well-being of our users. So, in order to maintain a healthy relationship between an application and a user, we need to start thinking about the adverse effects that our designs might have.

If we start adopting this mindset, we can keep the big picture in mind. Rather than thinking about the micro-attention span of a user, we can examine the lifetime usage of a user.

From a business perspective, if our designs are slowly poisoning the mental health of our audience, a user will eventually reach an inflection point where they determine that our applications are no longer beneficial for them. At this point, they will stop using our applications. A feature like this could help prevent an event like that from occurring, thusly, extending the overall lifetime usage.

Social Media, as constant as it has been in my own life, hasn’t really been around for too long. The applications and the effects they might have on us are a young phenomenon. Still, the implications are starting to become rather obvious. It’s no longer okay to tolerate business decisions that dehumanize users. At some point along the way, we changed our minds about design. User-Centered design became Addiction-Centered design, and we never bothered to change the name. It was a bad look.

The good news is that we can still recover. It is in fact, not too late. At any point in time, we can collectively take a genuine User-Centered stance and humanize our designs. We have the opportunity to stop this field from becoming more corrupt than it already is, one feature at a time.

Acknowledgments

I just wanna give a quick thanks to:

Doug Engelbart: For being a constant source of inspiration and his contributions to a better future, where humans and technology have a mutualistic, symbiotic relationship. I hope with sincere earnest that he is resting in peace.

Alexandra Jimenez: For taking time out of her day to help me refine an earlier version of this case study. She helped me realize how diverse this field is, and that this case study may not be a visually appealing one, but that this fact doesn’t devalue any of the work done.

Diego Veras: For always being there to listen to my crazy ideas and helping me make them more coherent.

Pixsellz: For providing the Figma community with an iOS UI kit that was helpful to reference when mocking up this feature.

Everyone who made it this far: For bearing with me. If you made it this far, I’m pretty sure something I said may have struck a chord with you or you just wanted to hear me out. Thanks for entertaining me and feel free to reach out whenever!

*Last sigh*

Well, that’s it! If you somehow made it here and haven’t seen the first part of this case study, just click here.

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