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It’s ten p.m. You are sleepy and you proposed to go to bed early. You put on your pajamas, brush your teeth, lie down and check your cell phone one last time before turning off the light … hours later it’s early morning and you keep looking at your phone.
Has it happened to you? To stay “on” to a technological device is a very common experience. And this behavior is not coincidental.
There is a whole field of research dedicated just to make people unconsciously hook up with devices such as smartphones, tablets and computers.
It is known as addictive design and was invented by specialists in User Experience (also called UX).
This design uses neuropsychological tricks to retain the attention of our minds.
Perhaps you have heard about how to receive a “like” or a heart in something that you published in a social network gives you a feeling of pleasure and confidence, and you know that this injection of dopamine makes you dump in these sites.
But there are much more subtle and less obvious resources that operate in all these applications and have a major impact on our relationship with technology.
Here we tell you four of the addictive design tricks that make you can not drop your device.
1. ” Scrolling ” infinity
Spending hours reading comments or looking at photos published on social networks would not be possible without the invention of infinite scrolling .
Basically, it’s about the possibility of continuing to see new information without limit as you continue to slide your finger or your mouse through your news feed .
This way your brain never has a pause and only your willpower can make you stop looking at the application.
“Unlike many other forms of entertainment, for example movies, smartphones do not have a finite end point, movies show credits after about two hours, but you can swipe, tweet or play until you die,” he says. journalist Eleanor Cummins in an article in the science magazine Popular Science.
The creator of the infinite scrolling is called Aza Raskin and he explained to Popular Science that his intention was to make the user experience easier. However, today he laments his invention .
“In reality what I did is that humans literally spend hundreds of millions of hours, ” he criticized.
2. Pull down or press to update
Another tool related to updating information that is addictive is the one that forces the user to scroll down or click to refresh the page.
The concept was created by Twitter, using a UX design trick.
When you open Twitter, it shows you the information you saw the last time you entered. You have to manually pull or slide down on your phone or press “see new tweets” (” see new Tweets “) on your computer to access the latest information.
This action is similar to that of a slot machine in a casino and is studied that generates a release of dopamine since our brain anticipates that this action will bring us a reward.
As with infinite scrolling , the creator of this resource today regrets it.
Loren Brichter, a former Twitter engineer, told the British newspaper The Guardianin 2017: ” Pull-to-refresh is addictive, Twitter is addictive, these are not good things .”
3. Indirect access
Interestingly, something that might sound like a design error, since it hinders our access to our own profile, is another tool used entirely by social networks.
Imagine that you want to enter Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn or Twitter just to post something. When you open the site or the app you will inevitably find other people’s comments and posts. And most likely, you ‘ll be tempted to read or even look at some.
The fact that none of these networks directly addresses your profile forces you to interact , albeit out of the corner of your eye, with the content generated by others.
And without you when you enter, the page warns you that someone you know has just published something or you have X amount of new messages without reading, your intrigue will be even greater.
Notifications are another very effective resource of addictive design.
They are based on studies that show that most people do not like to have outstanding things .
So if your cell phone is full of apps with small red circles indicating the number of notifications that you have not read, it is likely that at some point you want to see what it is about.
And once inside, it is also very possible that your activity generates immediate responses from others, which in turn trigger new notifications.
Now you understand how you stayed, without noticing, looking at your cell phone until dawn!