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Phone Addiction and Infinite Scrolling

Phone Addiction and Infinite Scrolling: Exploring the Brain Impact

Phone Addiction and Infinite Scrolling

The Impact of Phone Addiction on Our Brain: Understanding the Consequences and Finding Solutions

In today's world, smartphones have become an integral part of our lives. It's hard to imagine a day without our phones by our side, but have you ever thought about the impact of phone addiction on your brain? The constant scrolling, notifications, and sounds can have significant consequences on our mental and physical health. 

In this blog post, I will explore the short-term and long-term effects of phone addiction and dive into the addiction to TikTok. I also found some tips on how to reduce phone addiction in our daily lives. Bonus: I made a study on how to Design Infinite Scrolling as a good UX UI. 

Short-term Effects of Phone Addiction:

Have you ever felt anxious after not using your phone for some time? According to experts, it's because when we use our phones, a hormone called cortisol is released, which makes us feel good. But after 12 hours of quitting one's phone, people start to feel anxious due to the release of cortisol. And after 24 hours, some people may experience FOMO, increased heart rate, and blood pressure. These effects of phone addiction can ultimately impact our daily lives.

Long-term Effects of Phone Addiction:

Over the years, phone addiction can have significant consequences on our health and well-being. For instance, after three days, some people experience phantom vibrations from their phones that are no longer there. After five to seven days, cognitions like memory and concentration improve, and sleep may improve with a reduction in neck and wrist pain. And after 14 days, anxiety and depression may reduce due to less social media use.

scrolling ui design

Understanding the Addiction to TikTok:

TikTok is one of the most popular social media apps globally, and it's no surprise that many people spend hours scrolling. But how addictive is TikTok? Studies have shown that TikTok hijacks the brain's reward prediction error encoding, resulting in an increase in dopamine which drives addiction. 

Brain scans during TikTok use have shown activation of medial prefrontal cortex (MPC) and anterior medial thalamic nucleus (AMT), linked to addiction in mouse studies. Dopamine hits related to MPC/AMT stimulation create a pleasurable state similar to daydreaming or mind-wandering. 

As we continue to scroll through videos featuring dances, pranks, and influencer content, our brains are processing and rewarding us for our engagement. While these findings are intriguing, they also bring attention to the importance of mindful technology use and understanding the impact it can have on our brains. So it can lead to decreased concentration and memory impairment due to switching off the conscious brain for extended periods.

Steps to Overcome Phone Addiction:

Reducing phone addiction is not easy, but it's essential for our overall well-being. Some tips for reducing phone usage include identifying the triggers, setting specific times to use your phone, leaving your phone in another room, and avoiding taking your phone to bed. Introduction of apps that can help with phone addiction such as "Freedom" and "Off The Grid" can also be useful.

ui infinite scrolling

Recap of what happens to our brain if we quit social media:

  • After 12 hours of quitting one's phone, people may start to feel anxious due to the release of cortisol.
  • After 24 hours, some people may experience FOMO and increased heart rate and blood pressure.
  • After three days, some people experience phantom vibrations from their phones that are no longer there.
  • After five to seven days, cognition will improve and sleep may improve with a reduction in neck and wrist pain.
  • After 14 days, anxiety and depression may reduce due to reduced social media use.

Source: ASAP Science (read video description for more links and data)

Infinite Scrolling in Design: Balancing User Experience and Engagement

infinite scrolling ui

Infinite scrolling is a popular design pattern that plays a significant role in shaping user interfaces (UI) and user experiences (UX). By understanding its impact on UI and UX, designers can make informed decisions about whether to implement this feature in their projects.

The Appeal of Infinite Scrolling in UI Design

Infinite scrolling continually loads new content as users scroll down a page, creating a seamless and uninterrupted browsing experience. This design choice encourages users to remain engaged with the content and spend more time on the platform. It is particularly effective for platforms with large amounts of similar content, such as social media feeds and online galleries.

Considerations for Implementing Infinite Scrolling in UX

While infinite scrolling offers several advantages, it can also introduce usability issues that designers must address to ensure a positive user experience. These challenges include:

  1. Difficulty refinding content: As users keep scrolling, they may struggle to locate previously viewed content due to the constantly changing feed.
  2. Inaccessibility of the footer: With content continuously loading, users might never reach the footer section, hindering access to essential information or navigation links.
  3. Increased page load times: Continual content loading can lead to slower performance, especially for users with slower internet connections or less powerful devices.

Design Best Practices for Infinite Scrolling

infinite scrolling ui

To effectively use infinite scrolling while minimizing potential drawbacks, designers should consider the following best practices:

  1. Assess content type and user goals: Infinite scrolling works best for platforms where users browse content without specific objectives, such as social media feeds or news sites. For goal-oriented tasks or eCommerce websites, pagination or other navigation options may be more suitable.
  2. Provide a "Load More" or "Show More" button: Offering users the option to manually load additional content can help alleviate usability issues associated with infinite scrolling, such as difficulty refinding content and accessing the footer section.
  3. Optimize performance: Designers should ensure that infinite scrolling does not negatively impact page load times or overall performance, especially for users on slower connections or less powerful devices.

By carefully considering the implications of infinite scrolling on UI and UX, designers can create engaging and user-friendly platforms that cater to the needs and preferences of their target audience.

Inspiration for this chapter came from: NNG: Infinite Scolling their 2014 article and this video

About the author

Andrea Riezzo

I'm Andrea Riezzo, and I want to share my passion for creativity, inspiration, and design with you. As a creative, I've always been fascinated by the power of graphic and web design, social media, and photography to tell engaging stories and capture the imagination.

With 15+ years of experience in the industry, I've developed a deep understanding of what it takes to create designs that grab attention and leave a lasting impression. My expertise as a freelance graphic - web designer has enabled me to work on some truly incredible projects, and I've had the pleasure of collaborating with some amazing clients over the years.

So let's dive in and create something truly amazing - because when it comes to creativity, the possibilities are endless.

You can find me on LinkedIn, Instagram, Behance or Threads