Building Non-Addictive Products
Imagine a future where there is a right amount of consumption for the technical products we use. Just like a doctor would prescribe you to take Paracetamol twice a day (once after lunch and once after dinner) or a Nutritionist might ask you to consume only 20g of fat a day, an Application Developer would recommend you to consume the app not more than 15 minutes a day. In fact, Apple has taken a small step towards the future through its Driving Mode in the iOS 11 release.
The Driving Mode is a feature on iOS11 where your phone is automatically put to a Do Not Disturb mode when you’re driving - you’ll not receive any notifications on your phone and you’ll need an additional click to unlock your phone. Here’s what it looks like -
If I’ve to play Devil’s Advocate, here are 3 things that are wrong with this feature -
The phone locks even for the passengers in the car and hence it is annoying (a.k.a. an additional click) for them to use the phone.
If the driver really wanted to use the phone during driving, this just adds an additional step to it.
Any of the engagement metrics that Apple Product Managers are tracking, I believe this would be a negative change.
Yet, this has helped me not check my phone while driving and I’ve almost completely stopped checking my phone. I sincerely thank the good soul who came up with this idea. Even if this feature might be annoying to thousands of people, it has a huge positive impact to a few hundreds like me and could potentially save a life.
Here’s me wishing a similar Product Feature in some of the other products that I use and here are the 3 obvious ideas I could think of -
Facebook Dinner Mode - A feature called Dinner Mode. You’re at a dinner table with your friends/family. Do you want to be check Facebook Feed right now?
YouTube/Netflix Sleep Mode - A feature called Sleep Mode. You’ve watched more than 5 videos by just clicking on the Watch Next feature but it’s time to sleep now!
Amazon Shopaholic Mode - A feature called Shopaholic Mode. You’ve spent a lot of money this month, are you sure you want to buy more items?
Now that we’ve imagined such a future, do we really need the tech companies to build them for us?
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