Inspiration

Significant amounts of our time is spent consuming media which is affecting our ability to be productive. As university students we found that a substantial proportion of the time we spent procrastinating was attributed to posts on social that were designed to be inherently addictive. However, the only tools available to overcome the time wasted being unproductive on social media were inadequate and didn’t address the core problem – addictive UI designs.

Although there are various tools available on the chrome extension store to block posts on various different social media platforms, they were mainly focussed on blocking content and also built only for individual platforms.

With this, we recognised that it was our responsibility to build a universal tool, which would allow us to address the time wasted on social media and allow users to take back control of their productivity.

What it does

We take the Signal from the noise by eradicating addictive design patterns on the most popular social media platforms. We want to give users the ability to make good decisions easier and bad decisions harder.

Infinite Scroll

  • Replace Facebook's infinite scroll with conscious pagination. Signal is the only Chrome Extension on the store that has this functionality available for our users.
  • Redirects Reddit to the older version

Kill the News Feed

  • Hides the feeds on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn

Nudge

  • A subtle blur/shake to alert you when you've spent an extended amount of time on the site

Block "Recommended" Stuff

  • Removes recommended videos/play next on YouTube

Challenges we ran into

  • Each social media site has unique layers of obfuscation. Editing the DOM is difficult, which is the way it is designed
  • Getting distracted while testing on social networks

Accomplishments that we're proud of

  • This is something that we can use daily to improve both ours and others' productivity

What's next for Signal

Eradicate more addictive patterns:

  • Autocomplete in the omnibox (no more f -> enter to go to Facebook)
  • Change the color of notification badges
  • Track the depth of trailing links
  • Open source the project
  • Continue to assist people to improve their productivity

PS. Check out https://essays.uxdesign.cc/tech-diet/ for UX research on addictive design patterns.

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