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Bottom right corner

Our environments influence us. People, objects, interactions, they all leave a mark or make us do things in a certain way. And although most of that is subconscious, we’re not helpless and passive bystanders. We can design those environments to serve our needs better.

One environment I’m particularly interested in is my phone. I use it a lot and I’m aware it influences my behavior on an hourly basis. I wanted to cut down time I spend on social networks because a phone makes spending too much time on them effortless—the apps are always in my pocket, just one tap away, and always signed in.

I also noticed one peculiar behavior that subconsciously turned into a habit—I tend to tap the bottom right icon a lot, almost every time I have a minute to spare. It’s probably because the bottom row is fixed, so it draws more attention, and because that icon is the easiest to tap with my right thumb. And that’s where some of the social apps were.

I wanted to turn this habit to my benefit, so I “redesigned” that area (a fancy to say I rearranged some icons). I completely removed the social networks from my home screen. In the bottom right corner I put apps that I would like to use more.

For the bottom rightmost icon, I alternated between a Google Docs shortcut for writing and AnkiDroid flashcards I use for foreign vocabulary.

Lo and behold, my behavior changed. I didn’t track usage and can’t provide any hard data, but it’s so noticeable that it doesn’t really matter. I spend less time on social networks and use it to learn or create. Redesign successful.

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Explanations and politics

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