Too Good To Miss: Battery UI Changes Users Space And Time
Written by Harry Fairhead   
Sunday, 19 January 2020

We don't really consider the effects that our user interfaces have on human behavior. Could it be that we are changing the way people think about time and space simply by showing them a bar indicator of battery state?

(From: 2019-09-14)

New research by Thomas Derek Robinson and Eric Arnould at City University (London)  is reported in a paper (disgracefully pay-walled) with a title that gives no clue as to what it contains. Do not be deterred, Portable technology and multi-domain energy practices

I wouldn't go so far as to say that I ever feel "profound anxiety and discomfort" regarding my device's battery life, but I do think I understand. Users are now so tuned into their battery levels that it controls not only how they plan their activities, but how they view themselves:

Respondents who monitor their battery gauges and take measures to keep a high level of charge identify themselves as “control freaks”, “quite anal”, “planners” and “a bit OCD”.

People who regularly allow their phone batteries to run out of charge were identified as “frightfully frustrating”, “disorganised” and “inconsiderate”.

Have they no power banks?

I guess the problem might be exactly what this first obligatory xkcd cartoon illustrates:

Backup Batteries

Backup Batteries

More cartoon fun at xkcd a webcomic of romance,sarcasm, math, and language

It may reflect badly on you to run out of battery, but running of battery and backup battery and ...    

Are there other UI elements that have influenced "normal" life?

A few I can think of include the swipe left or right gesture to mean like or dislike - not one I'd use being parity-error prone. I have seen people use the pinch to zoom gesture over a distance to indicate bigger or smaller.

Somehow I don't think that the Windows bar indicator of time left to copy a file ever really influenced anyone - but it made a lot of enemies. A second obligatory xkcd cartoon makes the point:


EstimationMore cartoon fun at xkcd a webcomic of romance,sarcasm, math, and language

Any other UI effects on psychology, culture or mental wellbeing gratefully received.


More Information

Portable technology and multi-domain energy practices

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Last Updated ( Sunday, 19 January 2020 )