Social media companies are highly incentivized to create interfaces that capture attention and keep it. The result is addictive user interfaces that exploit human psychology to keep users scrolling. The users of social media, especially teens, are vulnerable to these patterns and the increased use of social media is contributing to rising rates of depression, social isolation, anxiety, and poor self-esteem. Social media helps connect people across the world, but it is often uncompromising. It is impossible to benefit from social media without also exposing yourself to addictive interfaces and inauthentic social interactions. We wanted to design a solution that promotes authentic social connection and eliminates addictive UI elements, helping to fill users social needs without risking the negative consequences of addictive technology.
What it does
Minima transforms social media by allowing users to redefine their experience online. Users are able to make decisions about how much information they want to see, and when they want to see it. Minima strips social media feeds into the simplest elements, keeping users connected to their friends and family while eliminating addictive UI elements including likes, notifications, and color.
How I built it
We began this project by trying to define the positive and negative aspects of social media. Through secondary research, we were able to identify five main elements that contribute to tech addiction: notifications, likes, color, unlimited scrolling, and time. Our solution is a prototype of a browser extension that interacts with the HTML on social media feeds to dramatically change what is seen when the extension is activated. Through ideation, low-fi sketches, and wireframes, our team built a high fidelity prototype that demonstrates the onboarding process and experience of using this extension
Challenges I ran into
In order to reframe social media in a constructive, positive way, our team first had to define positive and negative elements of social media. Our biggest challenge was sorting aspects of social media into two defined categories, when many people experience these elements in different ways.
Accomplishments that I'm proud of
At SWE Hacks we were able to go through a significant portion of the design process in one day. We accomplished a high fidelity prototype while committing time to understanding our user and defining our project
What I learned
If we had the time, we would conduct more user research to better understand user’s habits when using smartphone applications. We would also want to test if the features we implemented, such as a user-defined feed, can provide a more positive social media experience. After user testing, we would move into development and explore how our web extension can be implemented.
What's next for minima
We were surprised by the extent to which the design of social media impacts our behavior. The average time spent on phones/tablets a day is 4.5 hours. 51% check their phone a few times an hour. Social media has a huge impact on our lives and by changing the way we experience it we can make a significant difference in mental health.