Closure Experiences — Joe Macleod

Notes from UX Salon 2017 — by Summurai

Joe Macleod at UX Salon 2017 — Photo credit

Joe Macleod has built a 20-year career in leading web, telecom and carrier companies. For the last 15 years he’s been examining the topic of Closure Experiences. Through his work in design, technology and services, he has detected a common pattern of denial at the end of the customer lifecycle.

Joe has established a research project based on sharing this insight and new approach. Most experiences in life contain a closure experience. Closure is the satisfactory conclusion to a product or service relationship. Each party feeling satisfied with the completed transaction; it being a fair, just conclusion without negative consequence. In the past these were profound, however, over generations we have distanced ourselves from meaningful closure experiences thanks to our lifestyles increasing in comfort. The advance in science and medicine, and the decline of the church has seemingly freed us from the shackles of the ultimate closure experience, death. 
 This has also contributed to our personal pursuit of heaven on earth in the form of consumption. Nowadays we are encouraged to blindly live from purchase to purchase, with all sense of longevity and responsibility removed. Long term effects of this are seen in the product, service and digital scenery that we frequent. 
 The consequences of this consumption can be seen in the state of the environment, the state of industry, and the state of our own digital reputation. Services, products and digital products are attractive, engaging and usable for consumers, but we often overlook concluding these experiences for the user in a responsible way. Closure Experiences offers a model to frame this change.

The customer life cycle begins with onboarding, continues to usage and, in some cases, ends with off boarding. The social context of closure changed over the years due to our changing relationship with death. In the past, life was hard, death was familiar and heaven was an attractive reward. The industrial revolution changed our relationship with death, as the world progressed, death became hidden from life and was removed from the public sphere, and reserved to private places such as a hospital. 
 The concept of heaven is now abundant on earth. Closure has changed from a valuable and meaningful element into a hidden element of our lives. Services deny you from having a closure experience, in some cases, they just don’t let you leave. A good closure experience should be connected to the rest of the user experience via emotional triggers that are actionable, in a timely manner.

More information can be found at

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