Professor of Marketing at New York University’s Stern School of Business
Irresistible: Designing for Behavioral Addiction
Facebook has 1.5 billion users; Instagram users upload sixty million new photos every day. Twenty million people count and monitor every step with Fitbit. Two-thirds of all adults suffer from sleep deprivation, 95% use an electronic device that emits light in the hour before bed, and 60% of adults (ages 18-64) keep their phones next to them while they sleep. Some of the world’s greatest technocrats have the strictest limits on technology for their children. In 2010, when Steve Jobs, a low-tech parent, was asked if his kids loved the iPad, he replied, “They haven’t used it. We limit how much technology our kids use at home.” He knew the lure of his beautiful, tactile, absorbing, brilliant invention.
Technology designers are extremely skilled at creating interactive environments for consumers. The colors, fonts, and sounds are tested and polished and refined countless times, and the feel of the product, what it’s like in your hand or on your body, is key. Technology is intentionally designed to deeply engage its user. Is it any wonder that our attention span is evaporating?