Summary

Human attention is too often peripheral in the race for driving sales and advertising revenue. It is important to recognise that the way you design your products has an impact on the human mind and mental wellbeing. By assimilating a deep-rooted respect for human attention into your organisation and examining the impact of the design decisions you make through a user-centred process, you can then build attentional products that prioritise the facilitation of meaningful engagement between a user and your product. 

Example of this Principle in Action

Basis of this Principle

Many attentional products are built with a disregard towards the user’s mental wellbeing and attention. This disregard can be either based on ignorance or even worse, deliberate cynicism. Manifestations of this attitude are commonplace; distracting advertising, intrusive notifications, irrelevant content. Through this project’s case studies and engagements, we have seen organisations and products which clearly do place value human attention. 

Medium is a prime example of this. Medium has placed a high priority on readable typography and clean layouts, while also being completely transparent about how much time (attention) each article requires from you, with their ‘X min read’ labels. Likewise, features like ‘Do Not Disturb’ as seen on Slack, demonstrate a respect for the user’s attention. Often a well-rounded user-centred approach can help designers empathise with their users and design products that are mindful of their attention.

Products which value human attention have design teams which not only demonstrate an understanding of who uses their product, but also where they are using it, why they are using it, when and how often they are using it, and what else they are doing at the time.