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What if we design for *less* engagement?
What is ‘customer engagement' anyway?
When the Apple Watch came out, everyone wondered what could be done on these new tiny screens. Clearly not browsing, emails or spreadsheets. The answer wasn’t obvious - and hasn’t been about which type of app.
It’s about the *session length*.
We might use laptops a couple of times a day for a few hours. We’ll use a tablet many more times, but only for 20 mins. Phones could be 50 times a day, but for only 5m. But we then might check our watches up to 200 times a day… but for only 5-10 seconds.
So we need to re-think what customer engagement means, and redefine what customers want to get done with those interactions.
Are we optimising for the right thing?
Health and social evidence suggests that we spend too much time digitally connected, and not enough time with each other.
We are addicted to our mobiles, especially social media. It’s because many (most?) companies are designing for maximum session length and repeat engagement. Facebook notoriously created a team focused on extending engagement — they named themselves ‘the Dopamine team’.
Let’s design for LESS engagement
Instead, we should be designing for just the right level of engagement - and in some cases no interaction at all. To free up time drawing with my kids, not shopping for car insurance policies online.
With new digital customer tools - ones we can trust and control ourselves - we’ll be able to re-imagine customer experiences. And think deeply about what is the right session length.
I’m personally focused on building products that create meaningful connections. Ones that fulfill us. Not time-wasting interactions that purposefully create addictive habits.
It’s time to design for the right engagement.
It’s time for the ‘oxytocin team’.
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