When a group of design students at the Berg School of Communication in Stockholm, Sweden came up with an idea for an app, they had no idea how explosive it would be. The app concept has yet to be developed but is already creating a stir. Appropriately titled Bright Light, it was built to promote the brand RayBan Sunglasses. And in fact, even though the app has still not hit the market, their efforts have turned out to be more effective than past RayBan promotions.
The app works by using certain factors, such as season, building heights nearby, and sun paths to determine where the sunniest locations may be. The app also includes nearby amenities to help find the perfect destination. Then, directions from Google maps guide the app user to their spot in the sun.
But can the features of this app actually cause potential skin cancer?
- The most potent UV rays – The app algorithm locates the areas with the strongest sun rays. These are the most harmful if the app user is exposed for excessive periods of time and without sunscreen protection.
- Encourages socialization in the sun – The slogan used when designing this app concept was ‘Come join the sun, instead of searching for it!’ The goal of the app is to bring people together in the sunniest locations when there is more sun than shade.
- Easy to navigate – Once the sunniest spots have been found and selected, the idea behind the app is to make it as easy as possible to get to those areas. Google maps are used to easily find the strongest rays of sun.
- Risk of overexposure – Being exposed to sun is not always a bad thing. In fact, our bodies need exposure to the sun for Vitamin D. But overexposure is what can be harmful and lead to skin cancer, which is becoming increasingly common.
With this in mind, it makes sense that copycat applications have popped up from sunscreen companies, such as Coppertone with their app Coppertone Sunsight that is used to find the sunniest spots in New York City.
While the app itself may not be to blame for skin cancer in its users, it is a good idea for the designers to include tips on where to purchase sunscreen, and facts on when the sun is at its strongest to help educate the public on the dangers of spending too many hours and days exposed to harmful UV rays without protection.
Do you think apps have a responsibility to inform their users of risks such as these?
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