Building Non-Addictive Products

Tech Comments

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 -

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?

Kaushik Rangadurai

Code. Learn. Explore

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