The project reflects on the current situation of the loss of time perception in the digital space and explores self-control by separating the moment of action from decision in a physical way.

We tend to spend more time than expected on our phones, yet we are not happy about it. Now a new piece of research says that 62% of adults in Britain already resent how much time they spend using their phones.

How can we take control of our lives back from the digital space? How can we teach the kids about restraint and self-discipline with digital devices?

 
 

 

We tend to spend more time than expected on our phones, yet we are not happy about it. Now a new piece of research says that 62% of adults in Britain already resent how much time they spend using their phones.

It’s just so easy to get on our phones and control. It’s endless. Sometimes we open an app for a certain purpose, then we start to browse other apps. Sometimes we would set a time limit for ourselves, then we forget about it and refuse to leave our phones. We regret it later but the addictive mechanism of the apps has trapped us in.

How can we separate the moment of action from decision so that we can put hard restraints on our own behaviors? How can we set
up speed bumps in the process to remind ourselves of our purpose? How can we keep time in mind and be conscious of our phone usage?

 

I conducted user interviews to drive the planning phase. These are the key findings that defined the initial version of the product.

 

Perception of Time

Our perception of time shifts when we are online. The human nervous system exists in the present tense. We live in a continuous “now“, and time is always passing for us. Digital technologies do not exist in time, at all. It's easy for us to lose the sense of time when we are in the digital space.

Physicality of the Object

The best way to put constraints on the actions is to have physical devices. We all have the ability to delete some unwanted apps/features while we don’t want it there. In the digital space, there’s always a way to regret and reset. Having the physical evidence can prevent this from happening to a large extent.

Self-Regulation

We tend to make rational decisions when we are away from the temptations. It's the same when we are trying to limiting our phone usage. We can control our online behaviors better if we can separate the moment of action from decision.


 

How to separate the moment of action from the decision?

How to set up the strict constraints to prevent continuous scrolling later on?

 

 

APPLET is a set of smart physical batteries that are connected to different apps. The user can pair up the apps to the corresponding applets and assign a certain amount of time to the applet. Every time the user tries to open the app, he/she has to insert the applet to activate the app. On the screen, it will show the time left to use. The applet will send a gentle reminder before the battery is running out. If the user has spent all the time assigned to the applet, the app would automatically close and can’t be opened for that day.

 

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Easy to use

You can simply insert the Applet that is connected to the specific app to activate that app. 

Strict Constraint

Each Applet can only be charged once a day for a specific amount of time. By doing this, it puts strict constraints on the user in case they want to spend more time regardless of their own decisions.

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Customizable

The Applet is customizable and has the same branding color as the connected app so it is easier to find the right one. 

 

This project is unfinished yet. I'll update later on:

1. The complete work flow including the set-up and pairing stage (connect the Applet to the app).

2. The Applet charging base.