It’s All About Attention

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Holding attention to something is the source of all things in our mind.

Everything we’ve created is the result of our applied attention — or focus. We also get some intrinsic reward in the form of pleasure for holding our attention. For me, I could look at miniature models of cities and buildings for hours on end as new details come into focus.

If we discretize moments of focus, we can come out with a cycle. The first stage is noticing, the next is recognizing, the next is analyzing, and the last is understanding, then it’s releasing. It’s at the last moment that our attention can get caught by the next unit of focus. When slowed down, it’s interesting to see how this flows and feeling things move from one end to another.

The process of analyzing this (meditation) can expose our wiring and state. It can make us much more aware of how we operate and at some point, that can be used to manipulate ourselves and have what we think is control — at least to decide whether we invest a focus cycle on something presented to us or at least condense it to a short period.

From an UX developer point of view, it the question is how can we grab and retain attention over time. Facebook, Google, and others have become masterfully successful at doing this through phones. We can do this but the real challenge is can we do it in a way that benefits the user and helps them get to their goals.

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