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I use (digital) design & art to make the world more equitable & loving. 📖 creativeempathy.eu; 💼 thegreatness.studio; 🎙️ mindfolkpod.com (he/they) ☕️🥑

If a product isn’t meaningful for people, no amount of great design will make it successful

What is your purpose in life? What's mine? We humans don't exist to consume, swipe, buy, or use; we exist to live, to love, and to be human. So the products we make need to help people live, love, and be human. That's what makes a product or service meaningful. But why is that important? And how can we figure out if our product is meaningful or not?

Image by Bara Cross

This post is my humanistic view on creating meaningful products. It covers questions about our customers…


The fundamental goal of Human Experience Design is to help people experience love.

I detest “User Experience.”

Calm down 😮 I’m not hating on the field, on its practitioners (I am one), or on Don Norman, who invented the term back in the 80's.

I detest “User Experience” the way Whitney Hess detests “Lean UX.” It’s specifically about the word “user” and the unhealthy connotations that have grown around it. So I’m making a change for myself.

I no longer practice User Experience Design. I practice Human Experience Design.

Anyway, here’s why I’m making the switch from User Experience to Human Experience.

Design Must Focus on Humans.

Dr. Norman recently wrote an inspiring piece for Fast Company, entitled…


I feel like app designers’ attitudes on privacy have gone from 🤨 to 😒 & lately to 😳.

It’s ok: 😌 here’s what you need to know.

Summary (TL;DR)

  • Privacy isn’t scary: it’s an opportunity to earn people’s trust.
  • This is about how we handle personal data.
  • Some data are sensitive, and we need explicit consent before collecting them.
  • System permissions for apps are not the same as explicit consent.
  • Everyone is entitled to certain privacy rights: to be informed (Notice), to see the data we collect (Access), to take their data elsewhere (Portability), and to have their data corrected…


People seem to think public speaking is reserved for the chosen few who possess a talent for it. Some of us are born with it, and the rest of us should just give up. I don’t agree.

First, thinking that a great speakers are “just good at it” ignores the hard work they put into developing and preparing. Second, that confining conviction prevents worthy people from telling important stories.

Talent helps, but with hard work and good habits, anyone can be great at public speaking.

So “talent” isn’t holding you back. If you have no desire or use for public…


Dear Mom & Dad,

I love you. I know you use the internet to buy things, send e-mail, check your Facebook, and watch porn (no judgments here!).

That’s why I want to start a conversation with you about privacy, tell you why I think it’s important, and show you how you can protect yourself online.

Protect Myself from What?

Everywhere we go on the internet, even lots of places outside of the internet, people are watching. Without getting into political arguments, I think none of us wants to be a victim of identity theft, or more commonly, predatory advertising.

The biggest, and most easily…


A Design Framework for Sustainable Engagement

In the realm of human experience, it's clear that we are all looking to experience love, in one way or another. And love can be felt in any satisfying, empowering, meaningful experience we humans can have.

True love can only come from healthy relationships, and if we want our products to be worthy of love, they need to have the same traits that healthy relationships have. So the Ladder of Sustainable Engagement is a framework for crafting products that provide meaningful value, have a balanced rhythm, embody an emotional personality, and endure over time.

Design Is About Relationships

When we create something, we start…


Image: Philips

The Journey Map is known by many names, including Experience Flow, Customer Decision Journey, or User Experience Journey. Whatever we call it, each journey map is a story, and what makes stories effective makes journey maps effective, too.

An effective Journey Map teaches us, is based on truth, and helps us empathize with others.

There's plenty of info out there on journey mapping, so here's a quick overview on the basics of crafting effective ones.

Fiction or Non-Fiction?

At Philips, we often work with what we call an As-is Journey and an Envisioned Journey. As the names suggest, an as-is journey tell the…


A while back, I watched Pixar’s Inside Out again with my partner and her niece. A great film, it poignantly illustrates some important lessons about life and the power of empathy in a fun, subtle way.

If you haven’t seen the movie, it tells the story of the emotional life of an 11-year-old girl, Riley, by showing each of her main emotions is a character. Joy, Sadness, Anger, Fear, and Disgust work as a team, taking turns at Riley’s control panel (which guides Riley’s behavior) while consulting and debating with each other on how to handle different situations in Riley’s…


And I really LOVE John Oliver and Last Week Tonight

John Oliver makes fun of emotional intelligence in one of his segments; not in a witty, intelligent way, but in a bullying, ignorant way. It feels somehow out-of-character for the show that saved Net-neutrality.

So, What’s The Problem?

In this Last Week Tonight segment, John Oliver shows a clip that states this about Canada’s new Prime Minister-designate: while he may not possess the intellectual genius his father did, he has an emotional intelligence that his father did not. In response, John Oliver goes on a short rant about the worthlessness of emotional intelligence, comparing it to “actual intelligence.” He says the following:

“Emotional intelligence…


We respond emotionally to many aspects of physical objects. Here are three that digital things still don’t have.

I got a thank-you note in the mail today.

A couple of great friends sent it after crashing at my place in Amsterdam for the weekend. They could have sent an e-mail, or a Facebook message, or an SMS, or a Tweet. But they didn’t. They put pen to paper and wrote a real thank-you note.

Pulling it out of the mailbox, seeing the envelope’s hand writing, I knew what it was. My heart rate quickened as I climbed the stairs to my apartment, sealed envelope clutched in hand. …

Brian Pagán 🧠+💚

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