After almost a year engrossed in the subject of digital distraction, where did I end up? Looking back at my original goals, I find that I did meet most of them: I built something that stands on its own, released it, became an expert in the field of distraction, and was broadly involved in every aspect of the project, including the visual design.

But, more importantly, I think I learned something about designing digital products and services so that they do not become distractions.

This project took the form of a service that would fight the existing digital distractions in people's lives, from Twitter and Facebook to Angry Birds and FarmVille. It was a response to the distracting environment that we designed, and in which we now find ourselves. In the best case, Obtract can dampen distractions, but it doesn't eliminate them.

A different and opposite approach would be to design or redesign the digital products and services we use on a daily basis so that they're more respectful of our attention and don't become distractions. As designers, we need to think of the environment in which our work lives, and we need to improve it.

And the rest of that work can start now.