Psychologically manipulative tactics to increase our engagement with phones and apps have been intentionally and unethically designed into the fabric of the technology we use today. Loosely inspired by “The Social Dilemma,” my designathon team focused on 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. Data we gathered from 56 people showed that red notification badges cause undue stress visually and waste time by requiring users to open the app to clear them (often causing distractions and endless scrolling), just as they were originally designed to.

We redesigned iOS’s notification system to no longer take advantage of human psychology. “Focus” allows notification badges to be dealt with or cleared without needing to fully enter apps, and hosts 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.

Interact with the prototype here:

Shanna Gerlach
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