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Design, Digested 31

Deadly distractions, designing for modes, the problem with the Metaverse, new deceptive patterns on Instagram and more.

Distracted to death

Traffic fatalities in the U.S. are at a 16-year high. One reason? Driver distraction. Today’s automobiles are loaded with an almost cinematic level of screens, featuring apps and infotainment systems that blur the distinction between car and smartphone… and that overload the brain’s cognitive abilities to a level not even trained military pilots can handle. Russ Mitchell, a staff writer at the Los Angeles Times, joins us to discuss his recent story on the deadly consquences of carmakers’ and tech companies’ race to turn the inside of automobiles into what one researcher called “a candy store of distraction.” Plus, why you should never talk on the phone — even hands free — when you’re behind the wheel of a car.

🔗 Listen to the 35 min long podcast episode (on The War on Cars)

Where’s the button? Designing for mode confusion

Mode changes are confusion points for many of us. These could be mundane acts like typing with the caps lock key on (seriously, who needs that key?). Or you might accidentally input a keyboard shortcut triggering a new mode. A digital experience like this is akin to entering a room you don’t belong in; worst off, you may not know how to leave.

🔗 Read the article (on Kyle Lambert’s website)

The “dark yellow problem” in design system color palettes

When defining a proper color palette for the design system I was working on, I came across the “Dark Yellow Problem”, where designers try to strike a balance between “yellow being yellow” and meeting accessibility requirements for color contrasts.

🔗 Read the article (on Medium)

The Metaverse pretends that life is a game. That’s the whole problem

Do you remember gamification? I do. As does, I imagine, anyone else who was avidly following the rise of silicon valley social tech companies like Facebook from about, say, 2010 to 2016, the last moment when said companies were still generally portrayed in the broader discourse as innovative and genuinely helpful. Jumana Abu-Ghazaleh

🔗 Read the article (on Scribe)

Instagram gets worse with dark patterns lifted from TikTok

[…] In this case they took the opportunity to bring in a few bad habits and troubling choices, all pretty clearly intended to juice their metrics and force users to interact with content on the app’s terms.

🔗 Read the article (on TechCrunch)

Could sustainable websites increase energy consumption?

Most environmentalists and technologists don’t like to talk about the Jevons paradox. It undermines energy efficiency efforts and offers no clear solutions or alternatives. The result is that there is a cognitive bias to simply ignore it.

🔗 Read the article (on Wholegrain Digital website)

‘I’ve taken a million pictures – 50 were good’: photographer Ferdinando Scianna

He’s photographed Scorsese, shot fashion for Dolce & Gabbana and created art from the religious rituals of his native Sicily. Now, at 79, Scianna declares his six-decade obsession with the camera is over.

🔗 Read the article (on The Guardian)

Important note

While an article shared here use the adjective ’dark’ to describe deceptive patterns, there is a conversation around the bad connotation it has. As of 9 January 2023, I have updated the language I use to be more inclusive and not discriminatory.


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On ‘deceptive patterns’ and wording
I deleted all occurrences of the adjective ’dark’ when used to describe deceptive patterns on my website, in a bid to be more inclusive and not discriminatory.