Why are you always on your phone?

I spent the weekend in NYC. On Saturday I went to Chelsea Market and then went up towards Times Square and MOMA. There was one thing I could not escape. Everywhere I went I had to navigate around people who were looking down at these small screens texting, double tapping photos, checking their Snapchat. At MOMA, everyone was stopping in front of the art to take photos (I was guilty of this myself). This experience made me stop to think about the intention of smart phones and what they have evolved into.

Phones were meant as a form of communication, as a way to contact someone immediately who was not in the same place as you. As they became more advanced, the evolved beyond simply text and verbal communication. Companies have found ways to monopolize every moment you spend on the phone and as that happens, we become more addicted.

A few features to redesign:

  • Limit time on applications: Deactivate certain applications on the phone after they have been used beyond a certain amount of time.
  • Block applications during certain events: For example, while driving or while walking places. (A consideration with this is that people often use GPS navigation to get around – what would be the alternative?)
  • Reduce financial incentives for company’s to create content: Could there be restrictions on content that was created for phones or how much money company’s make off of them?

So many considerations with this – who should be allowed to dictate how a person spends their time? How enforceable is it? Can you tell when someone is using their phone out of necessity or just to waste time? For some, a phone is a way to conduct business and make a living, or a tool during emergencies, but for others, its a way to compare yourself to your friends or avoid the real world around you.

I missed the design exercise at the end of class yesterday, so I thought I’d comment on something I observed this weekend – an amazing device that has taken over our lives…





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