Companies are always looking to increase the amount of engagement on their websites, apps, services, and devices. However it seems that we have gotten to a point where we might be engaging too much with our devices, which is why companies like Google have introduced a digital wellbeing initiative to its products in hopes to try and get users to stop being so addicted.
So how did Google go about trying to determine what they should do? This is thanks to the efforts of Googlers Julie Aranda and Safia Baig who embarked on a research project in which it helped to shape Google’s digital wellbeing initiative. The results of that study have also recently been published so you can check that out if you’re interested in the details.
For those who don’t have the time, basically the research consisted of Aranda and Baig speaking to participants aged 18-65 from both the US and Switzerland that used either iOS or Android devices. They also included the data collected from an additional 112 participants from Asia such as China, Japan, and Singapore, and also Sweden.
From what they found, they determined that there were at least three ways the tech industry can help users have a more healthy relationship with their devices. This includes facilitating voluntary disconnection, where through features like “time spent” will let users be aware of how much time they’ve been spending on their devices or apps.
Partial disconnection is also another area that could help, where users can still use their devices, but have limited functionality or access to certain apps or features. They also think that features that reduce temptation, like the App Timer feature in Android 9.0 Pie, can also help. Google is not alone in trying to encourage this kind of behavior. Apple has also introduced similar features in iOS 12, along with Facebook and Instagram.