Greg Morris

Designer, Pretend Photographer, Dad

Putting In Some Barriers

Exactly two years ago, I was thinking about barriers. At the time it was to do with comments on my blog (I was moving it yet again) but this time it’s in my life. Although they are different topics, they both cover the same area. The intentional design of a barrier to restrict access to something.

Not entirely, just ruin the flow enough to trigger some thought or increase the motivation needed to complete the task. It is a pretty easy thing to do. Behaviour = Motivation x Ability x Prompt. The holy grail of those designing to keep you engaged and manipulate you to do desirable things. Whereas there are sometimes we need the opposite.

Take using my phone for instance. I know using it too much is bad for me, and intentionally bought a smaller one to put up a barrier to usage. Although I now don’t use my phone very much, there are days when I do. I get engrossed in something or am particularly bored, and I think to myself “I need a bigger screen”. When in fact I, as a person, don’t need a bigger phone at all. I know these things are internal, it’s not the internets fault, but a bigger phone will make me use it more. As such, I put up an international barrier.

I’d love to go back, but the reality is I require these things in place. In the same way someone who wants to lose weight might hide the sweet treats, I am putting my weakness behind as much of a hurdle as I can. Believe it or not, this is hard for me to do. I spend my life trying to make customers be able to do what they need to do as easy as possible. I want to roll this mindset out to everything, but being able to realise that barriers can be a good thing makes for better living.

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