This post is widely and admittedly inspired from the Slow Food Manifesto for Quality written by Carlo Petrini on December 10, 1989
Just like slot machines are designed to trigger irrepressible behavior, the ad-based business models of the Tech Industry are using the same addiction-based systems Casinos use to keep their machines busy.
Both software and hardware designers gimmick gambling games to enable addictiveness to their technology. That’s the numbness we all feel when scrolling endless feeds of uninteresting pictures, or compulsively reading posts from people we barely know. The incontrollable need to ingurgitate more content. Followed by the unavoidable guilt of wasting time.
Scientists say this addiction occurs when a subject performs a continuous, solitary and slightly rewarding activity. The subject becomes so caught-up in the rhythm of the flow, that it dampens his awareness of space and time.
But it’s not all bad news.
The hardware revolution of the Internet is shaping up a better future for all of us. A handful of pioneers are giving back its true significance to the word Technology. This new phase in the Digital Era focuses on a value that’s the essence of any good and valuable tool: Giving you free time rather than cashing on your attention.
If there’s one thing more valuable than people’s attention, it is people’s time
This post is about what we believe are the grounding bases of a slower and more quiet tech in opposition to the folly of the Fast Tech Age.
Slow Tech is an invitation for designers and engineers to practice and disseminate new design ethics grounded on three simple prerequisites:
Invisible — Slow-Tech is to be seen only when needed.
Your favorite apps and services are designed to get a maximum of your attention. To do so, they use all types of notifications for every mention, retweet, like, comment, status, email and messages you get.
But we all know that a good tool should not ask for your time if it is not to give you more free time.
Natural interactions are the base of this principle. Screen-based user interfaces have almost a hypnotic power that entices us to stay longer in the system. While natural and tactile interactions require less attention and trigger less our desire to lose ourselves into the machine zone.
Nest is the perfect illustration of how technology can be invisible.
Insightful — Slow-Tech is also about beauty.
And beauty does not come from clutter and abundance. It emerges from simplicity and grace. Good technology should provide insights and not data. Nobody needs to know everything about their self or their environment.
Minimalistic, visual and insightful user interfaces are primordial to provide as quickly as possible the information needed by the user without taking much of his time.
Activité is amazingly simple because it presents insights about yourself without disturbing the natural look & feel you’d expect from a watch.
Purpose — Slow-Tech is liberating.
The third principle of Slow-Tech is about respecting the one purpose the user expects from the product with no frills.
This should be pursued through the creation of products that enrich the user when in the system rather than just distracting him. A balance of entertainment and true purpose should be found to give the user a sense of accomplishment and freedom instead of shame and wastefulness.
Osmo is a great example of how technology can embody a purpose that is both entertaining and educative.
Go Slow Tech
Whether you are a designer, an engineer or just a user, consider these simple actions and decisions that will help you go slow-tech:
- Think about other business models than advertising when designing or using apps, services or devices
- Use evolutive products that are long-lasting and will stand the test of time
- If you think you spend too much time facing screens, there are solutions like Moment that help you realize how long you use your phone each day
- Whenever possible, know the story behind the people that make the product you are using and their design ethics
Connect & Contribute
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