An important step in building a customer-centric brand


Partner and President of E-Cubed Media Synthesis, Inc.

Technology is meant to improve our lives. However, every major technological development has always brought new challenges. Today we have the whole world (literally) in our pockets. We are more connected to each other than ever in the history of human civilization. But the instant availability of information has increasingly distracted people from real life.

Many people are starting to worry that their relationship with digital technology is becoming more and more difficult. Brands such as Google are taking initiatives to promote digital wellbeing practices. They aim to restore a healthy balance between the real and the virtual.

What is Digital Wellbeing?

As defined by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OCED), well-being includes digital health at the community level, as well as physiological well-being, safety, education, and several other parameters. However, for the purposes of this article, we will follow Google’s definition of a framework for digital wellbeing. We are committed to giving everyone the tools they need to cultivate their own sense of digital wellbeing. ”

UX principles for digital wellbeing

In 2020, Google released this Digital Wellbeing Handbook. It provides product managers with four key UX principles to foster digital wellbeing.

• Support default

Build defaults that support your goals. For example, silent notifications as default during sleep time promotes uninterrupted rest. The user has the authority to change the settings as desired.

• Data for self-awareness

Use data visualizations to inform users of user behavior patterns. For example, a dashboard that analyzes time spent across mobile app activities.

• Configuration transparency

Allows users to easily fine-tune settings at a granular level. For example, be transparent about your data privacy settings. Make it easy for users to select the data they want to share with you.

• Contextual experience

Allow users to personalize their product experience. For example, not all users want their data to sync across devices. Build features that enable users to design their own product experiences that support their goals.

Real-world UX strategies that drive digital wellbeing

Digital wellbeing isn’t just about spending less time looking at screens. It may be a starting point, but it must be exceeded. It should promote a healthier relationship between users and devices. Here are some ideas that you can pick up from Google’s recommended practices and incorporate into your UX design to encourage healthier user behavior.

• Fix scrolling.

Endless scrolling may increase engagement, but it can be very addictive in the long run.Use UX writing to create moments of pause. For example, an Instagram post has the text “You’re all caught up.” Choosing page-style navigation instead of endless scrolling is another idea you can experiment with.

• Overhaul notifications.

Create default notification settings that encourage healthier user behavior. For example, he limits notifications to a certain number of days or a certain time. Give users the option to tweak these settings as needed. Use microcopy to inform users of the reason for the default setting.

• Reward good behavior.

So far, companies have used gamification to increase engagement. Complete a series of tasks to unlock new features, cross milestones and climb the virtual leaderboards. There are many examples of gamification in the world of technology. The same gamification strategy can be used to promote healthier digital habits.

For example, pets, plants, or any kind of virtual entity can be assigned to each user. The assigned virtual entity grows as the user reaches their screen-free time goal. Nor does it necessarily have to be associated with screen-free time. You can allow people to define and set their own digital wellbeing goals.

• Facilitate experience personalization.

Instagram has recently been in the news for its decision to pivot to reels. The move sparked outrage among users who lamented the move away from stills for photo-sharing apps. It is the thing, the contextualization of the experience. Not everyone wants to see reels on their feed. Similarly, some may gravitate more toward video formats. Let users choose their experience with your app or website.

A simple way to achieve this is to ask users for their content and design preferences when they first sign up. Keep your settings bar somewhere accessible so you can tweak your settings at any time.

Propose your digital wellbeing UX strategy as a unique sales proposition (USP)

Notification alerts, popup messages, and endless scrolling are all proven strategies for driving engagement. But if we’re serious about championing the causes of digital wellbeing, we need to drastically reduce, if not eliminate, these UX strategies.

Don’t lose the goodwill of your users. Let them know you care about them. Use microcopy to inform users about healthier digital choices. Blog about brand philosophy. Conduct user surveys to gather feedback. Reach out to your audience and start a personal dialogue. All of this helps mitigate the short-term impact of abandoning addictive UX strategies that foster an unhealthy relationship with your device.

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