The day, I overshoot my destination metro station
For the last two weeks, I wanted to write an article on the ‘infinite scroll’ feature of different social networking sites and Apps as the part of the new UI design. The infinite scroll feature is different from pagination (breaking content into pages) in a sense that the site or app delivers an ongoing flow of new content as the user travels down the page. But, I couldn’t figure out how to start my blog on the very topic.
Today, when returning from office I overshoot my destination metro station. By the time I realized, it was late. The metro train was already standing at the next station. I put the mobile in my pocket and jumped-off the train standing on the platform. While going back to the previous station, I was thinking, “How could I miss to get off at the right station?” I was taken aback and realized I was busy browsing Quora. I got so much immersed in reading answers that I kept scrolling down the app for more responses. Although I desist from writing answers on Quora, I do read them. So it was the infinite scrolling feature in Quora that kept me engaged and I ended up at next station!
Pee: When you gotta go, you should!
Infinite Scroll feature has opened up the flood-gate of information on our mobile phones where one may get exhausted consuming them but the content served will never end. Be it the social networks like Facebook, or LinkedIn or even YouTube; all will make you drained if you dare to chase the end of the page. The feature is making people stick to Apps and websites for longer and longer duration. For example; you just shared a photo of your trip to a favorite destination and wanted to check the number of likes received. You open up the App on your mobile phone thinking it takes just a few seconds to see the count but end up spending 30 – 45 minutes. One such instant costing us few minutes seems acceptable to many, but ultimately it may cost us 9 to 16 years of our life busy online.
Actually, the usage behavior is not specific to Facebook or Instagram but, this behavior of ours is same across all other such platforms like Twitter, YouTube or even e-commerce websites. At times we are so much immersed in such scrolling that we end up delaying essential things or wasting precious hours of our day. So much so that, we don’t get the time to attend some priority stuff from day to day life. We procrastinate and postpone things, even those which need immediate attention. It may be holding on an urge to go for a pee. Or, it may be reading a good book, or maybe; reviewing an artwork from a girlfriend.
We start to use mobile again as the argument gets over. Pity!
We ignore small problems caused by mindless usage and addiction of our mobile phones. But as our usage with mobiles grows, subtle problems crop-in. Since our mind has to process a large amount of data aided by infinite scroll feature, it goes into passive mode and gazes through various texts, photos, and videos lethargically until some unique content passes by. Our subconscious mind pick and save these unique texts, exciting photos and interesting videos in our memory. So the next time when we open these social networks again we try to view more of such feeds. This is because these are feeds we remember and try to browse similar contents more.
We become so much addicted to consuming these feeds that we keep browsing them everywhere. We browse them while talking to friends and family. We browse them while we are waiting for a bus. We browse them while traveling. We browse them while getting off. We browse them while waiting for a lift. We browse them in toilets. We want to dedicate every single second to our phone unless something or someone is not stopping us. Like; working on a project with a really tough deadline and during arguments with the wife over, over-use of mobile phones. Pity! We start to use mobile again as the argument gets over.
Realizing the magnet between our fingers and mobile icons
Let me share a face-palm moment here. Last month I got the touch-screen of my mobile phone broken and had to go to a repair shop. I handed over my mobile phone to the technician and was informed to wait for 15 minutes while he repairs it. I stepped back to the chair nearby and put my hand into my pocket reflexively to take out the mobile and ‘kill-time.’ What a ‘face-palm’ moment! My mobile phone was with the technician; I just handed it to him.
Most of the day, we navigate to our social media apps impulsively, as if our finger and the icons are magnets. We don’t even realize that we’re doing it until our finger taps the Facebook, Instagram or Whatsapp icon on our mobile phone. And, once we open it; we just do mindless browsing; feeding ourselves with useless and most of the time with harmful stuff.
Flipping through contents on social network hogs our brain. It leaves little space for creative thinking and figuring out our hobby or passion. Slowly, these Apps become our addiction. Whenever we get free, we switch on to some browsing on the phone. We start feeding our mind that how lucky our friends are by checking their status of a foreign trip. We feed our mind that we earn less so cannot enjoy food at some posh restaurant. We feed our minds that getting fewer likes on our ‘Display Picture’ make us less attractive than others. We feed our mind to crave for the lifestyles of celebrities we follow. We feed our mind with videos of people doing fantastic stuff at our age. We feed our mind with useless promotions. These things create an information bubble for us. At times it becomes frustrating. At times it becomes depressing.
It has become a challenge to take off our eyes from the screen
The infinite scroll, I call it mindless scroll and other features like autoplay, reverse chronological timelines, and push notifications have become the significant UI design part. They have become so pervasive that they are everywhere. They have been included in various streaming websites like YouTube, Vimeo, Metacafe, and et cetera. The media service provider Apps on smart TVs like Netflix, Amazon Prime, and HBO too implements this design. Now we are using our eyes ‘day and night’ by either watching TV or browsing mobile, except when we are sleeping. Ohh..We cannot sleep with our eyes open, else we would love to browse them while sleeping. It is not only screwing up our time but our eyes too.
There might be numerous disadvantages of this infinite scroll feature. I am not going to mention them here. You might have read them somewhere, or maybe; read them soon. The main point I want to convey here is that you should stop screwing up your precious time by consuming unlimited and uncontrolled information. You should either limit your usage to such media items or uninstall these Apps from mobile.
If it is hard to either uninstall the apps or limit its usage, then sign-off from all social media platforms on phone. Log-in to these platforms when you really need to access them. Once the purpose is served, log-off again. The extra work to log-off and log-in will work as a damper for the urge to use the mobile continuously.
Everyone is a couch potato: The Irony is no one worries
There was a time when parents were worried about their children turning into couch potatoes while watching television. But now, parents along with their children are becoming couch potatoes. The Irony is no one worries.