Keyword Archives: choice architecture

June 11 2016

How Designers Make You Addicted to Social Media

Image: Tristan Harris

Tristan Harris spent three years as an design ethicist at Google, and in a recent article he gives some insight into how designers purposefully manipulate users into social media addictions. He uses the analogy of the interface designer as a magician, using blind spots, edges, vulnerabities and the limits of people’s perception to trick them. Interface designers are experts in using psychological vulnerabilities for their benefit. The most effective are techniques to turn smartphones into slot machines by offering ‘variable rewards’. By constant e-mail and social media notifications, users become addicted to social approval through their smartphones. Websites and apps are designed to keep you there as long as possible, and make you come back as often as possible. Tristan makes a strong plead to designers to tune down the continuous interruption and respect people’s time and attention. Read his article here.

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