It’s not you. Phones are designed to be addicting.

Published on February 28, 2018

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Today’s phones are hard to put down. Push notifications buzz in your pocket, red bubbles demand attention, and endless distractions sit at your fingertips. It can feel impossible to pull away from. But that’s kind of the point. When people talk about the “attention economy,” they’re referring to the fact that your time and attention are the currency on which today’s applications make money. Because apps profit off of the total time you spend on their platform, there’s a strong incentive to use psychological tricks to keep you endlessly hooked. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Tristan Harris, who runs Time Well Spent, is working to create a world where platforms can more honestly respect their users’ time.

By Design is a new Vox video series about the intersection of design and technology, hosted by Christophe Haubursin. Stay tuned for more, and check out Christophe’s most recent work exploring design in our Vox + 99% Invisible collaboration: is a news website that helps you cut through the noise and understand what’s really driving the events in the headlines. Check out

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