WIAD: Anxiety + Notifications

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As a part of the World IA Day 2019 theme of "Design for Difference," CapTech's Customer Experience team challenged our designers, developers and strategists to collaborate on ideas to improve the experience for people who may need different access to information and technology, or language and cultural understanding, due to disabilities or abilities, difference in age, gender, or identifying differently in an experience.


Push notifications deliver brief, digestible pieces of information to the user quickly, without interrupting the current task or requiring navigation to a dedicated app. While this works well in a vacuum, it can prove painfully disruptive to anyone challenged with ADD, ADHD, or anxiety related to social media. These distractions may break concentration or can feel overwhelming if stacked up over time. The “turn them off” solution isn’t totally effective, as notifications can provide information the user actually wants which means missing out on that information can lead to add to anxiety, especially around social media. The core issue is found within the frequency, format, and unexpected nature of these notifications.

The Halftimes app allows users to set the frequency and timing of batched notifications delivery. Using the moon as a visual reference, delivery occurs at the end of each full or new moon. Users can set the length of each phase (i.e. how long between notifications delivery), which part of the hour those notifications are released, and the app notifications to be included in each alternating phase. While this app is intended to help those with ADD, ADHD, and social media anxiety focus on tasks without forcing them offline, others may find it useful as a productivity tool.

The visual aesthetic of the moon was chosen for its near-universal relatability across cultures as well as simplicity. Switching between the dark and light phases allows users to know instantly the phase they are in – and which has completed - while maintaining a high level of contrast.

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