Notification overload and coping with dark design patterns.

Design in 2017.

Here’s how most of ours days start. We wake up swearing because we need another 2 hours sleep, turn off the alarm and check our phone.

When we swipe down the notifications drawer, we see tonnes of work emails, Instagram and Facebook notifications, Slack messages and calendar invites. Even Medium notifies me of my ‘top story’, for it to be in the daily digest email an hour later anyway.

This is a dangerous way to start the day; we’re on the back foot before we’ve even had a shower. Not only is checking our phone first thing bad for our eyes, our relationships and our work / life balance, it’s terrible for self esteem.

How can we be efficient in our jobs if we’re chasing notifications?

Not only is it a bad habit, but there’s no one at work stopping us from doing it. We feel obliged to have our work email, Slack and calendar synced to our mobiles, and (most) company policies aren’t trying to get us out of the habit with complimentary work devices.

This leaves us plugged in, and contactable, at all times — We’re never not working. With us not being able to properly dismiss and handle our notifications on just our mobiles, it’s actually counter-intuitive to be reading them.

I find myself reading emails on my mobile in the morning, to only mark them as unread with the intention of properly digesting them later on in the day, or taking the time to reply properly. The same goes for tweets, messages or invites. This is nonsense.

Even if we do handle all our Slack messages early doors, we’re still forced to re-read them all when we’re on our laptops because of how they don’t mark messages as ‘read’ when you’re switching devices. This is particularly frustrating when you’re part of multiple channels, so I reached our to them.

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