Is the Internet Making Us Crazy?

‘In less than the span of a single childhood, Americans have merged with their machines, staring at a screen for at least eight hours a day, more time than we spend on any other activity including sleeping. Teens fit some seven hours of screen time into the average school day; 11, if you count time spent multitasking on several devices. When President Obama last ran for office, the iPhone had yet to be launched. Now smartphones outnumber the old models in America, and more than a third of users get online before getting out of bed.

‘Meanwhile, texting has become like blinking: the average person, regardless of age, sends or receives about 400 texts a month, four times the 2007 number. The average teen processes an astounding 3,700 texts a month, double the 2007 figure. And more than two thirds of these normal, everyday cyborgs, myself included, report feeling their phone vibrate when in fact nothing is happening. Researchers call it “phantom-vibration syndrome.”’

Is the Internet Making Us Crazy? What the New Research Says – Newsweek and The Daily Beast.

Whitespace = Quality & Sophistication

Designers use whitespace to create a feeling of sophistication and elegance for upscale brands. Coupled with a sensitive use of typography and photography, generous whitespace is seen all over luxury markets. Cosmetics, for example, use extensive whitespace in their marketing material to tell the reader that they are sophisticated, high quality, and generally expensive.

via A List Apart: Articles: Whitespace.

Emotional Design = Human Design

From a review of the book Designing for Emotion:

“…His first and most important point is that websites should feel like they are made by human beings for human beings. Everything else follows from that. Along the way he quotes Donald Norman, a pioneering product designer who literally wrote the book on Emotional Design, about why attractive things actually work better:

Attractive things make people feel good, which in turn makes them think more creatively. How does that make something easier to use? Simple, by making it easier for people to find solutions to the problems they encounter.

Steve Jobs took this up a notch with the design of Apple products: research shows people respond to their iPhones as if the phones were loved ones (the anticipation, the quickening of the pulse, the abject disappointment!) The attractiveness of a product certainly affects how we feel about it—and Norman would argue, how we use it—but when it comes to websites it is the personality that is expressed through the design that makes it memorable.

via Why Does ‘Emotional Design’ Work on the Web: for Felony & Mayhem, It’s No Mystery – Forbes.

Three levels of happy design

From Beyond Frustration: Three levels of happy design | UX Magazine.

“… I’ve used Seligman’s terms, but my descriptions incorporate concepts and vocabulary from all the research I did as I apply them to experience design.

Mindfulness in design is about a pleasing awareness. In relationships, it can mean infatuation. It’s knowing that this is good, that this makes me happy. It’s satisfying. You feel it in your body. As Norman suggests, it’s visceral. You trust that things are moving the direction you want them to go. As the user of the design, there’s the feeling you’re being paid attention to, that the designer is anticipating your needs and being considerate of your wants. As the designer, you demonstrate that you have the user in mind and you understand her goals.

Flow is from work done by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. In his book, Flow, Csikszentmihalyi describes a state that people enter when they are fully focused in which they experience immersion in a task or activity to the point where they lost track of time. There’s no time between tool time and goal time. Brown talks about transformation; I think that applies here, too. Sagmeister uses words like contentment and joy. As the user, you sense no friction between you and the design on the way to reaching your goal. You may even spend more time than you planned because you’re having fun, or being productive, or both. As the designer, you incorporate psychological cues, language, social cues, and reinforcement to subtly motivate users to keep working or playing longer than they might without those design cues.

Meaning comes from a feeling of fellowship, contributing, and making the world a better place. It’s about harmony and, as Norman says, reflectiveness—because good things happen to you, you want to do good for others. As a user, you reach your goal quickly, easily, and happily, but you realize you’re involved in something bigger than yourself, that your involvement is making a positive difference in others’ lives. As a designer, help users know where they fit in and what their effect is by thinking through exactly what you want the emotional and behavioral effects to be of using your design. You demonstrate intention (in the yogic sense) through clarity, simplicity, funneling, modeling outcomes. …”