Time Fog is a pattern through which designers deliberately reduce users’ awareness of the time they spend on digital services. The pattern is designed to obscure users’ sense of time spent by hiding time-related information, such as the video elapsed time. Time Fog leverages users’ attentional bias to draw their attention away from critical information towards more engaging elements, such as videos or games.
A “time elapsed” feature that allows users to monitor how much time has passed since the start of a video is missing from Netflix (an incomplete timestamp is circled in red). As a result, users are unable to easily determine how much time is left until the end of a video, potentially leading to longer viewing sessions. Additionally, content streamed on Netflix is often in full-screen mode, which hides the clock displayed on the user’s device, making it more difficult for users to track the amount of time they spend on the platform.