Student designs app to make us more human

Sarah McManus's picture
by Sarah McManus
mobile Picture: Ed Yourdon on Flickr

Is your mobile phone running your life? Seeing parents out and about with their children and, instead of interacting with them, being glued to their phones has prompted a Northumbria University student to design an app for that.

Melissa Smith came up with the idea for an app called TIME, that nudges users about how much time they are spending on each of their apps.

She told the Betarocket site:

“I just think it would enhance people’s lives if they were aware of how much they’re using. If people are more aware of it, they can choose what they want to do and that will hopefully lead to more human interaction.

“The only way to address the problem was to go via the source of the problem, which meant creating an app. However, it’s really not a negative thing for me. Technology is important, but having more knowledge enables people to make little changes.”

The app monitors how much a user spends on each of their apps, and reports back with the sometimes scary truth. It also enables people to set targets on their usage of a particular app. So, for example, somebody wanting to cut their Facebook usage down to an hour a day,could receive a notification that would alert them when they hit that point.

The prototype has already led to a 5,000 euro award from Orange presented by Facebook’s director of product design Margaret Stewart.

Read more about the initiative here.

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