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Smartphone addiction could be changing your brain

Dear readers and customers,

as app developers we ourselves not only love to use apps. We also try to keep them as clean as possible.

And with this statement we don’t mean explicitly we’re providing bug free apps before releasing them into the wild. This is common sense.

In a world full of addictions, some of them completely new since the release of the iPhone as the first smartphone in 2007, we explicitly avoid the following techniques:

* infinite scroll
All of our developed apps, as well as all of the websites we create and maintain by the way, never used any form of infinite scrolling. Today, almost any so called “social media” app or website uses this addiction technique in some form. We don’t want to mention those here. If you want to read further about this behaviour of the “bottomless bowl” technique, which affects humans, we recommend reading the experiment by Brian Wansink

* pull to refresh
As of our newest round of app updates, we eliminated this kind of refresh mechanism from all of our apps. Our websites never were affected, though. We built the mechanism in when Lollipop came out (2015 or soon thereafter) to try to experiment with new forms of refreshing when they first appeared in the smartphone operating system Android. Unfortunately, in the meantime it became clear this technique is too similar with those of slot machines. And we all know how gambling can be of a hassle for quite a lot of persons.
We are happy with it, to be honest: not only are we assured that our refresh mechanism as it was implemented was very good the way it was. We also found out that elderly persons have problems even recognising Android design patterns which are too obscure to them. Oldie but goldie, we stayed with the refresh button and a cute coloured progress bar.
Fun fact: we never were sure about this design pattern and if we should use it for all our apps. So, the only app in our portfolio which we spared with this mechanism all the time was zockerseele.com (oldschool won, woohoo! ^^). Otherwise we wouldn’t even have the code to revert anymore…

* no likes
Both of the mechanisms mentioned kick too much Dopamine into your brain, a neurotransmitter which can induce halluzinations if you abuse it too much. A lot of street drugs are responsible for it, e.g. Cannabis or Ecstasy. Third in this row are the likes, or likes in general.
Well, here this was a pure coincidence that we dropped out of Facebook completely in 2015. So none of our apps nor websites are affected since the aforementioned date.
The problem is not only the function itself but also the colour: red in most cases. The sum of phenomenons sets users in a “feedback loop state of social confirmation”. This is an official quote from Facebooks co-creator Sean Parker

As you can see, there are easier things to check if you develop apps for smartphones and tablets than human psychology, of course! Other techniques, like “the ratings of relationships”, we didn’t have to mention as we never developed dating apps. But there are other and more problems today which should be investigated and eliminated further by app developers in the near future.

Some of the new modifications in our case happened by chance. Others by mindful decisions. Or just experience.

But be assured that by now all of our apps you download from official repositories (Google Play Store, Amazon App Store and Opera App Store) lack those new-age manipulation techniques.

We hope that other app developers will follow and we gave them some good arguments using/avoiding design patterns in use today. Please show some responsibility. Thank you.

And never forget: there’s a world outside of your smartphone or tablet which is worth fighting and living for!

Only the best wishes to y’all,
the aethyx staff


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