Designing for focus in a distracted world : a proposal for new design heuristics
Author(s)Zhang, Annie Tianci.
Proposal for new design heuristics
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Architecture.
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People feel happy when deeply focused on something meaningful. Yet, it is increasingly difficult to focus in our attention-extractive economy because the technology driving our consumer products exceeds our human vulnerabilities. Cognition research has long shown that constantly being distracted by our devices decreases our performance on complex tasks and deteriorates our emotional health. So far, attempted solutions (such as screen usage limits) have largely placed the responsibility of corrective action on the user. However, when it comes to more traditionally harmful products, the responsibility lies with product designers to design less harmful products and warn users of risks. Why should it be any different for our devices The responsibility still lies with the product designers to create products that don't exploit our cognitive vulnerabilities. However, designers have no framework to follow. Designers are currently generating concepts based on short-sighted design heuristics (guidelines) that aim to reduce product failure and user confusion when using the product. Instead of only considering functionality, we need a framework to turn us toward the freedom of focus. New heuristics should be introduced that help us prioritize the protection of our minds and allow users to reclaim their control of their attention. This research details a process for discovering new focus-oriented design heuristics, as well as a proposal for 10 focus-oriented heuristics that have been demonstrated to improve the quality of concepts generated by junior designers.
Thesis: S.B. in Art and Design, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Department of Architecture, May, 2020Cataloged from student-submitted PDF version of thesis.Includes bibliographical references (pages 19-20).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Architecture
Massachusetts Institute of Technology