Background: Through the Fire
How many notifications do you get in a day? How many taps do you make in a month? The average smartphone user receives 64 notifications a day and make 2,314 taps a day.
There are countless companies that are designing their technology to maximize time-on-site. The consequences can be seen at everywhere. These apps attempt to deaden our brains long enough to whittle at our autonomy.
Part of the antidote is Siempo, a smartphone focused on mindfulness and simplicity. Along with Hilah Shenhav (designer), Stephanie Shorter (neuroscientist), and Matthew Sutherland (motion designer), I asked “What does a distractionless operating system look like?”.
Research: Keep It Clean
Promote focus by optimizing for single-tasking. Create an environment where it’s easy to complete their goal.
The experience should be defined by intention. Create a system that helps users prioritize what they already want to do.
Unify all content. The intention field should be the place for search, generating content, or muting.
User Experience: Keep It Clean
The largest challenge here was adhering to the principle of intentionality. In practice, this meant creating the navigation of each feature so the user could enter the feature, perform the key task, and exit as quickly as possible. I eventually figured out that the interface elements had to be massive, the settings and other tasks obscured by one or more levels, and exiting was never more than 2 clicks away.
Future iterations of Siempo will rely heavily on the home screen. Here, you will be able to access everything on your phone and there are plans of using NLP/NLU to power a conversational interface that would allow access to an array of services while keeping in line with Siempo’s simplicity.
Interface: Keep It Clean
The majority of the operating system is monochromatic. The exceptions are the photographs during focus mode. Although it is a trend in software now, it fits Siempo because the intent is to keep the product calm and simple.
Everything is spacious and the tappable elements are kept apart from each other. Key tasks are centered and massive. Secondary tasks are kept in the corners. A lot of space gives the interface a relaxed look.