Svilen's Realm
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Svilen's Realm

Solving Distraction: iOS Do Not Disturb Concept

In a hyperconnected world, how do we create a healthy relationship with technology that enhances our lives?

In a hyperconnected world, how do we create a healthy relationship with technology in that enhances our lives?

Reverse Engineering Habits

“Smartphone addiction” is a bit of a misnomer as people aren’t addicted to the phones per se, but to the actual apps installed on them. In order to understand how to combat habitual behavior, we first need to understand how these apps are designed to suck our attention.

Don’t Trigger Me

As you can see, Triggers are the catalysts of habitual behavior and in the context of smart devices, the ultimate manifestation of an external trigger is the notification; that piercing “ding” that sucks our attention into a rabbit hole of endless feeds for way longer than we intended.

Interval can be set by the user, ex: 5min, 10min, 15min, hourly, or custom.

Multiple Devices

What good is silencing your iPhone when a single call rings off your MacBook, iMac, iPad and Apple Watch? Users should be able to easily set multiple devices to Do Not Disturb:


There’s no good reason why you should have to manually silence your devices inside of a movie theater, workplace, or university. Users can define custom or choose preset geofences inside of which Do Not Disturb is auto-enabled:


While our phones are great at keeping us connected with our friends when away, they also tend to keep us disconnected when we’re with them. Nothing kills an passionate conversation quicker than an obtrusive notification:

Introducing Recipes

Everyone’s lifestyle is unique, which is why you should be able to control when, where, and around who, apps are allowed to disturb you. Since iOS knows which apps send the most notifications and when, Siri can suggest personalized recipes to curb disruption based on individual usage trends. Users can also create custom recipes to suit their routines, which allows for more complex interactions, for example- watching Netflix on my Apple TV can trigger Do Not Disturb on all my other devices.

Going Forward

Although contextual Do Not Disturb is a small piece of the digital wellbeing puzzle, it’s an important step in regaining our ability to be present. In the future I see a few interesting possibilities which could be explored further:

  • Rethinking Permissions: When giving initial notification permission to apps, perhaps incorporate restrictions based on time, location or even friends nearby.
  • Whitelisting Friends: Perhaps the ability to silence an app such as Instagram while allowing activity from certain friends?

Design Decisions

As I was rethinking DND, it occurred to me that iOS Settings’s UI transgresses fundamental Gestalt grouping principles as it poorly separates different sections and hierarchy:



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