Essays on Technology and Culture

All the Red Dots

I’m on my iOS device 10+ hours a day. I like to be able to, at a glance, get a sense for where certain things are, and badges help me do that; I like to know what my various “queues” look like (e.g., RSS, Instapaper, Slack, messages, etc.). I don’t look at this device 1000 times a day because I have a pretty background (I do) or because I’ve rearranged my icons into a “fun” pattern (I haven’t). I look at it 1000 times a day to get stuff done and manage my time.

Hypertext: On iOS badges and information density

And this is exactly why I don’t have badges turned on for most apps. I don’t think of most apps as a queue that I need to process and empty. I think of them as repositories I can dip into and deal with at my leisure. My task manager and the app I use to message my significant other can have the blinding red badge because they’re important. My email, and the stuff in my Instapaper queue, not so much.

I don’t want all the information when I look at a device, I just want relevant information. It’s why, unlike Justin, I don’t use the Modular face on my watch—in fact, right now I’m using X-Large, simply because it’s the weekend and there’s nothing important I really need to see beyond the time. Tomorrow, I’ll switch to my Utility face and see my next calendar appointment, the weather, and my activity rings, because that’s all I need worry about. But that’s just me. You set up your device just how you want it.

Hat tip to Conor McClure for this one.