Planning your death: a product designer point of view.

For most of us, death is a disturbing topic to think about and we all have our personal beliefs about “what comes after”. Truth is, we don’t know much. Excepted from one thing: it’s going to be a hard process for our families.

Have you ever thought about how’s it going to be for your beloved ones if something happens to you? Well, they’ll go through a tremendous amount of emotional pain and, at the same time, they’ll encounter a difficult and expensive administrative process (in Switzerland, the average cost of a funeral is estimated between 5000$ and 8000$).

Beside your funeral’s organization and the inheritance related issues, your family members will have to contact your landlord, your boss, your bank, your insurance company, the tax administration, the automobile service, your association or club and they’ll have to deal with your subscriptions and your social media accounts… That sounds like a lot of work in those circumstances.

How can we reduce our family’s pain when the day comes?

What our grandparents or parents usually do, is fill a binder with the documents they judge relevants and hide it somewhere they think to be a safe place.

While this technique might sound old, it’s still widely used today. However, digital solutions exist as well.

“brown binder lot” by Sear Greyson on Unsplash

Let me introduce the Swiss startup Tooyoo whose aim is to provide a simple, efficient way to document your final wishes.

Their solution is quick and straightforward: After you created your account, you’re asked to fill out a questionnaire and select trusted people (generally members of your family or close friends) to share your information with, in case something happens to you. Meanwhile, your informations are simply stored in a digital safe that you can access whenever you need to.

If the worst happens, one of the person you selected beforehand will be able to upload an official death notice on the platform and so gain access to your last wishes and get a step by step guide.

The guide is structured in a way to ease the process that your beloved one will go through, giving them all the needed information to get rid of the administrative issues, as fast as possible, and thus have enough time to mourn.

Design analysis.

The previously discussed binder, is what we call an artifact: a real world object that people use to solve a problem. You can think of it as a validation of a need and an opportunity to develop an innovative solution.

And that sounds like what Tooyo is doing: They recognized a real need and found a path to fulfill it. Their product solves a problem better than the existing solutions. And even if that sounds old today, a well thought binder was a pretty good one until now.

Tooyoo respects their user’s time and effort. The benefits that emerge from reducing the pain of your beloved ones during one of the most difficult experiences in their life exceed the frictions caused by answering a questionnaire.

Tooyoo is useful. The platform is functional : It’s well-crafted, easy to use, it’s consistent and gives you feedback whenever it’s needed. It’s social: One of the core values is to open the discussion about death on the public sphere. It’s emotional: It forces you to think about a disturbing but real fact: we’re all going to die and we should be more prepared about it.

Tooyoo will eventually become indispensable. I do all my administrative matters online. The day my parents die, I’d be lost if I can’t get the informations I need quickly and digitally.

Tooyoo is responsibly made. The security of their users’ privacy is their top priority.

Conclusion.

A product has two inherent qualities that speaks to the users’ need: Tangible and Intangible. In the case of Tooyoo, the tangible would be how it helps your family if you pass away. Intangible is about the experience of using a product, how it feels and how the product positions yourself amongst the society. It’s usually more complex to define but superior products need to understand this aspect as well. In that sens, I think that Tooyoo is a great product because of its ability to easy somebody’s mind before it’s too late.