Fantastic essay by Kathy Sierra about how apps with gamification and poor user experiences deplete our cognitive resources. (Via Marco.)

This is a subject which has fascinated me endlessly since I first learned about it a couple of years ago. Making smaller, inconsequential decisions impacts our ability to make bigger decisions, do hard work, and solve difficult problems later in the day. (Commonly referred to as Ego Depletion.)

It’s why the brain works best in sprints with breaks in-between, so we can have time to refuel our cog resources in between stretches of “knowledge work”.

I also love hearing about what sorts of patters and habits people set up for themselves. For example, did you know President Obama only wears gray or blue suits? Because it’s one less thing to think about, thus leaving him with more mental energy to run the country.

If you feel decision fatigue on a regular basis, consider automating some of your daily, inconsequential decisions. Such as when you get up each morning, what you wear, and what you eat for breakfast and lunch.

Your App Makes Me Fat