With smartphone distractions becoming a big problem in society, a new app is looking to help users put down their phones and be distraction-free.
What Is Siempo?
Siempo is an Android app that helps users curtail smartphone distractions. By turning your smartphone's background white and by replacing your flashy icons with bland ones, Siempo can be an important tool in the fight to end smartphone addiction.
"We want smartphones to be good for our well-being, for our mental health, for our productivity, for our sleep, for our relationships, and unfortunately right now many of them are designed to be in the way of that," Siempo co-founder and CEO Andrew Dunn told The Daily Pennsylvanian. "So we're trying to reimagine the tools as being on our side, and having our best intentions in mind."
Siempo, which is in a free Beta mode, launched in April 2018. It has a 4.2-star rating in the Google Play Store and thousands of downloads. There are also plans to expand the functionality of Siempo beyond the Beta mode.
How Was Siempo Created?
Dunn said that he struggled with social media addiction as a teenager and this diminished his emotional development. After graduating college in 2012, he led a group of developers in the process to create Siempo.
"The attention economy is making people more distracted, stressed, lonely and depressed," Dunn told Tech Crunch. "Big Tech is unlikely to take meaningful leadership in humane design, and individuals are at a loss for what to do because developing healthier digital habits is a long-term, manual, iterative process."
Lead product designer Matthew Bauer said that before creating the app, the team was focused on creating a hardware version. The problem with the hardware version was the customizations for each app.
"The software solution through Android was a great solution because it allowed people to select which apps they find distracting, which notifications they find distracting and customize the user interface so it's more mindful," Bauer said.
How Does Siempo Work?
After downloading Siempo, users must select a word or phrase that describes their purpose for using the app. Then, users can identify which apps they consider to be distracting. This characterization allows Siempo to constantly rearrange those distracting apps so that the user will be less likely to click on them.
Siempo also includes features that allow users to change notification times so that there are fewer distractions. For example, users can set it so that they only receive notifications once an hour.
Icons can be customized or linked to other apps that relate to it. For example, the maps icon could link to Google Maps.