zenware
n. Software designed to enhance focus by removing or blocking a computer's visual distractions. Also: zen-ware.

Example Citations:
Their inventions so far include wearable sensors that deliver rewards ("calm points") for breathing well while you work, developed by Stanford University's calming technology laboratory;...and scores of pieces of "zenware" designed to block distractions, with names such as Isolator and StayFocusd and Shroud and Turn Off The Lights.
—Oliver Burkeman, "Conscious computing: how to take control of your life online," The Guardian, May 10, 2013

Pang touches on the idea of "zenware," software that is designed to help us focus. In particular, he mentions WriteRoom and OmmWriter, full-screen text editors meant to help people write without getting distracted.
—Klint Finley, "Contemplative Computing," ReadWrite, July 8, 2011

Earliest Citation:
There's an emerging market for programs that introduce much-needed traffic calming to our massively expanding desktops. The name for this genre of clutter-management software: zenware.

The philosophy behind zenware is to force the desktop back to its Platonic essence.
—Jeffrey MacIntyre, "The Tao of Screen," Slate, January 24, 2008

Notes:
An older sense of this word — software that has a calming or soothing effect — dates to 1993:

El-Fish is realistic enough for an American columnist, Jim Louderback, to find the program soothing. In PC Week, he claimed the program "actually reduces stress. In fact, it is so calming it approaches a Zen-like experience". He called it "the first of a new category of product: zen-ware".
—Jack Schofield and Bob Swain, "Why they're hooked on fish," The Guardian, September 30, 1993

Related Words:

Categories: