5 holiday trees with wagons full of gifts and toys in the foreground
Photo by Jessica Christian on Unsplash

Deck the Halls with Next Year’s Donations

Koan #45

Chris Kiess
Published in
3 min readDec 14, 2023


The email was titled, “Addicted to Amazon? We Can Help.” It was from a credit union I still belong to and aptly timed. ’Tis the season.

I thought it was hyperbole. But a quick internet search proved fruitful with articles detailing those who were addicted not only to Amazon but online shopping in general. One of the top hits was an article from The Washington Post.

Oddly enough, three of the seven tips (almost half) in the email I received targeted how easy it is to buy something on the platform. From a design perspective, I find this interesting. Have we made it so easy, by design, to buy cheap crap on platforms that it causes addiction issues?

User experience design is a profession steeped in the philosophy of making products easier to use. And while there are instances when we need to make something difficult for users (such as deleting a file or launching a missile), it is less often we find ourselves designing those types of safeguards into a product. Instead, we are usually hyperfocused on trimming the fat — making it faster and reducing cognitive load.

One could be forgiven for thinking of our end-users as little more than modern versions of Pavlov’s dogs.



Chris Kiess
Design Koans

Healthcare User Experience Designer in the Greater Chicago area