Wednesday, June 19, 2019

The Undivided Attention Podcast


The Undivided Attention Podcast. Listened to the podcast of  Centre form Humane Technology which brings out the problems the companies and technology have brought us. 

Tristan had a conversation with Natasha, the author of the 'Addiction by Design.' She researched on  Las Vegas Gambling and shared a lot of inside stories of Gambling. She shared interesting insights on the addiction and mechanics of Las Vegas.

It's interesting how the architecture of the gambling zones are designed to lure the consumers into endless time.  Few interesting aspects that surprised me are the interior designing and the absence of right angles on the carpets. 

"The carpet is drawing them into the gaming areas, they are sort of narrowing at the right point, and they are never, never having the right angles in them. And that is very important not to have right angles in the carpets because what a right angle does is it stops you up, and puts you in the position of a decision maker, where you have to make a choice, into the gaming area-"

Last thing a casino wants the person is to decide. We think we're the decision makers but we're easily deceived by the atmosphere. 

The designing casino manuals say, "Not analyze the various things you observe as you meander along, we want to curve you to where we want you.""

The curvature design hasn't ended in the carpet, it went on to the curvature of ergonomic seats. The seats are designed especially for the elderly to allow the flow of blood through arteries.  In a production line, there's productivity to produce and these designs are implemented to increase the continuous gaming productivity.

Back then, productivity was worked on to get the efficient work from the assembly line and now, it's to get more money from the consumer.


Natasha also shared a lot of interesting insights on how light, space matters.  "Right, so you are measuring that light doesn't bounce directly at people from interior surfaces because that will bring them to awareness and tax their senses. You don't want sound to bounce off walls and come and again make you feel depleted,"

With this kind of designs, I really wonder how IT office architecture is planned. With conglomerates like TCS, Infosys, what do they expect from their employees. 

I personally find the architecture dull, boring, uninspiring. I wonder what do they have in mind in designing these spaces. I also remember my architect friend mentioning, "Lights in IT spaces are so screwed up that they want you not to think much but do monotonous works with a herd mentality."

Back to the podcast lessons,  Natasha explained how there's a  shift from mechanical reels to computational devices. Despite the upgrade in the devices, the design to trap the customer into the game as there's time on the device, they've also computed many false wins to let them be in the zone.

There are levels that are not too tough so that you give up, there are also levels that are not so easy that you stop of boredom.

There's a sweet spot between anxiety and boredom where the levels challenge you to be there, playing for long time.


With this kind of methods and design, Natasha, Tristan discussed how it's a problem of technology but not the person. Because the technology around us is running on the attention economy. 

Everyone wants our attention.  Discussing if the answer rests with the individual or algorithm, Tristan concluded with great perspectives on technology and design. Love the podcast.


In between the podcast, there's a conversation between Tris and Aza discussing the problems of design and usage. Aza designed the infinite scroll. He says, " I got caught believing that making an interface easier to use meant it was better for humanity. Instead, it was one of the first interfaces that got used not to help you, but to hold you."

There are many suggestions Aza gave out to fight back the addiction. 

"If the user says like, I don't really want to be using Instagram more than 15 minutes, we'll just start slowing things down just a little bit after 15 minutes, because you've asked the user what they want and now you're just helping align their environment so that when they trust fall into the interface, the trust fall is aligned with their values and what they want. It's adding friction back into the interface."


Interesting Podcast. Here's the link. 




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