Brent Simmons reflects on unread badges:
If you’re an app developer, please consider the effects of your work on other people. It may be hard to guess — but just try imagining what spiral someone who’s compulsive might fall into.
Driving to an appointment recently, I felt the familiar urge to check my email while waiting for a light to change. Ignoring for now the aspects of looking at our small screens while driving, there is a danger in this urge all on its own. The need to be up to date at all times is a lie. A myth. And it’s one that should be removed, ruthlessly, from your thinking.
There are many reasons why I think wearable products are weak, and I’ve explained these reasons before. But I think the idea that it’s pertinent to be constantly connected to your notifications, to your email, and to your Twitter account is among the biggest reasons why I’m not interested in a wearable piece of technology.
Anyone who knows me knows that I reply quickly to most emails, texts, and Twitter messages when I’m already in those apps. But I also don’t compulsively pay attention to notifications. My phone often sits on my desk, occasionally buzzing away to itself.
But, every so often, I fall into the trap of feeling compelled to reply to everything that comes my way. I’ll get several notifications in the span of a couple of minutes and start to feel overwhelmed, as if not seeing these notifications immediately will accelerate the Sun’s demise, or something. This is exacerbated by stress; when I am rushing to meet a deadline, these notifications are a further burden. My solution is simple: I flick upwards from the Home button and turn on Do Not Disturb mode. Perhaps this compulsion runs a lot deeper than that toggle suggests, though.