Lighter is coming. What does it mean for website design?

Austin Walker Austin Walker
April 25, 2019   |   5 min read time

Lighter is coming. What does that mean for your mobile traffic?

Just a heads up, there is a lot of speculation in this article. So, one, we’re warning you that there may be some spoilers. And, 2, some of these scenarios may not happen.

Lighter is coming. Well, Lighter 2 is actually coming, and Lighter has been here.

Lighter is a phone that was designed to remove people away from smartphones and cater to audiences who feel that the overuse of screens and technology can really take a toll on your well-being.

With several million in their Indie-Gogo campaign, they may have hit a chord with a good handful of people. They’ve also completely sold out of their first generation phone, and are looking to do something similar with the pre-sale of their second generation.

Realizing how harmful smartphones can be to your overall health, some consumers are hinting that this would be the next most logical step.

But what does that mean for your mobile traffic?

There is evidence available showing that too much screen time is bad for our heads.

For your reference:

Brain cancer



At this point, though, what happens if it’s removed?

That’s exactly the experiment that Lighter is running with their new mobile device. A sleek, functionally-limited device, Lighter seeks to help people actually remove time from their screens and instead pay attention to the world around them.

Should marketers or designers be scared?

We should take a second to mention that some carriers still have flip phones. And devices that can connect to the internet, but otherwise don’t have a ton of functionality beyond calling and texting.

So. Maybe.

Considering the growth of responsive design, websites specifically made to respond to different screen sizes and browsers, there may be some work to be lost for designers. Marketers that have focused on smartphone funnel delivery might start seeing a downward trend in their potential customers and current customer spend.

Rather than just sit on our hands and wait to find out, let’s play out a couple of the scenarios that are pretty likely:

Scenario #1: Immediate Benefit and Loss of Smartphone

Here’s the scenario that marketers and designers alike should be afraid of.

The user starts to adopt the technology and find immediate relief from not using their devices. In our textbooks, this would most likely read as the “innovators.” They realize upfront that there is going to be some pain involved making the switch. There isn’t necessarily an ecosystem built to accommodate them outside their smartphone, such as a Google Maps GPS system or gaming system. But that’s okay, because for the innovators and early adopters, they’re generally a little less about what the technology can currently do, and more happy with that fact that they’re on the latest and greatest trend. Maybe it could be known as fashion trends for geeks and nerds. (We’re in that category, btw.)

The lack of using apps to see what their friends are up to, guide themselves to places they normally go to anyways, connecting to the internet, playing games, monitoring their heart rate, or whatever else someone is using their phone for; the want and need to do so dissipates. As the user pursues less pain and more happiness, they eventually figure out that the world is okay without their smartphones, and begin to be rid of them.

Smartphones have made the world so much easier, and things that you used to even have a powerful computer to do, can now be done in a little 4x2 inch screen.

Users will most likely attempt to eliminate their devices and find how many things become an issue when they do so.

There’s the fear of missing out (FOMO). Also, navigating places will be difficult and more time consuming. People may start to feel bored again. Although it’s one of the highlights the phone is attempting to give to their potential users, it’s fighting the pleasure vs. pain theory. Most people will avoid pain and seek pleasure.

Will it stick?

Scenario #2: Focused when in use

The experiment is set to launch in July, where Lighter will be introducing it’s new device, which now has the capability to text, has an alarm clock, as well as receive and send calls. The device itself is solely attempting to be the replacement of smartphones and introducing a new era of “proudly dumbphones.”

But here is the real kicker: even though someone is going to be removed from their device for a certain period, there may be some positive light, yet.

Instead of someone spending time on their smartphone playing games, looking at the latest string of Tweets from their favorite celebrities, or avoiding eye contact, instead their devices become a tool used minimally, and could end up being more quality time on their smartphone.

This would be a great thing for marketers and designers, alike. Now, designs can be created to focus on purchases and sales, rather than nurturing a lead 20-30 times before they even buy. If consumers are more focused on filling the need for their pain - so they can get off their phone - they’re be more decision-ready, and less on-the-fence. Their focus is less on the total 3-6 month experience, and more on getting the job done. Sorry, UX.

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Scenario #3: Just can’t be taken away

Here’s the third scenario. The one that most people believe is going to be the case: most people can’t stay away from their phones. And things stay trending they way they currently are: up.

However, there are a couple trends we can give for examples that may help us decide whether it’s possible or not.

For example, veganism and the plant-based movement. Although we have a great push in the back from climate change, a lot of what is driving this movement is the pain and suffering animals go through before their inevitably slaughtered. The living conditions are poor, disease is high, and finding out what happens to the animals before they end up on the plate can be painful for many.

At first, the campaigns were more emotional-based and tried using the brutal conditions and violence to help make the switch. It wasn’t very effective.

But the movement is being pushed from a different direction. Instead, people ready to make the switch, or even just make some alternative choices, because what they’re realizing is that the switching cost can be pretty low. Fast food chains are catching on with the Impossible Burger. Grocery stores have complete sections devout to vegetarians and vegans. Food scientists are finding ways to make the foods both palatable and edible. No more just eating tofu straight. There are also celebrities who have made the switch and model themselves to demonstrate they’re not missing out.

Do we see this happening with phones? Will it take several people to adopt the idea of living without their smartphone, introduce how helpful it is, and for companies like Light to help reduce the switching costs? It might.

Until then, fear not fellow website designers and marketers. The selling of goods and services will continue through all of this. Companies are still going to want to sell their stuff, and they’re going to need smart marketers and web developers to do it.

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