Getting distracted by the very same tools you use to do your job in your every day work is really new to our species. Our brain has been developed for hundreds of years with non-intrusive tools. The pen and paper on an architects office, would never pop up a notification to let you know about their new versions. Neither would the hammer in a blacksmith’s workshop. On the other side though, we are getting constant “update notifications” from our own tools, when we work. These notifications are the exact distractions that is the arch enemy of focus in creativity. We are not and should never get used to that.
I am a relatively happy Brave Browser user for more than a year, until recently. I have started noticing more and more the constant nudging to update the browser with an intrusive green, then yellow, then red button implying danger and prompting to Update Brave. Given that I spend about 6 hours working in a browser per day, this is really getting in the way of my focus. I can’t even recall if there has been a single month without me seeing the red button.
Also, a few words about the user experience of this approach. Viewing a red-alert-like button so often about security updates (I guess) I do not even know what they are about gets me thinking. How would the browser distinguish a critical update for a zero day exploit? In addition, using red colouring on a button implies danger and is usually reserved for potentially destructive irreversible actions, like deleting an account. Last, seeing a red update prompt, without accompanying context about why should I do that is anything but encouraging.
We all feel the importance of working with software that is calm. I started building better reflexes around this though, after I read an excellent book; Calm Technology by Amber Case. It’s a great read and I suggest it without second thought.
Software should be considerate, non-patronising, calm and get out of your way. This is the only way we can do work and also live in peace with software. It should put on our service and do the magic, without even noticing.
Thanks for reading 🙏.