Ten Design Priorities for Product UX

Design for these human imperatives to drive future success.

The future is driven by design. Every year, businesses reflect on technology and predict its impact on the future. At Punchcut, we look beyond technology to acknowledge the human patterns that require design focus. We have identified 10 human design priorities that will drive success.


In a hyper-digital world, people long to be more humanly connected despite ever-present states of connectivity. Increasing depression and loneliness among digital-natives call for alternative modes of unplugging.

How to design for Breathing Space…

  • Integrate physical actions with digital
    People are seeing the value of turning off devices to be more present in the tangible, world. Give people reasons to physically connect with others.
  • Offer means to manage and maintain balance
    From family to work and “me time”, all of us juggle various aspects of life and seek tools to help do so. Create new features or modes that help people track and balance life more easily.
  • Create relief space for all senses
    Eyes need breaks from the screen. Be aware of when an experience overstrains certain senses and design for active attention and down times.


Embracing the value of diversity through more inclusive, universal design is now a critical imperative. Moves to offset intrinsic bias are driving an era of human-centered organizations and systems that are more equitable for all underserved populations.

How to design for Human Equity…

  • Grow diverse teams focused on inclusion
    Diverse teams mean diverse thoughts and new perspectives. Allow space for open communication for judgment-free idea sharing internally.
  • Leverage inclusive data and validate broadly
    Be mindful of confirmation bias in your testing. Question expected results and review your methods with people of different backgrounds.
  • Present flexible variables and custom options
    Celebrate differences. Empower people by enabling personalized core experiences. Address instead of dismiss edge cases that arise during development.


Wellness is a continuous journey, not an end state. The key to progress is motivating healthy behaviors across multiple dimensions to form into lifelong habits. Expand all services to support a seamless journey of wellness and align motivational cues to intrinsic values.

How to design for Infinite Wellness…

  • Care for the whole person, not the patient
    See the complete picture of the person by partnering with them to enhance relationships between their physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health.
  • Seek positive state of being beyond health
    Measure data across life dimensions to achieve an overall positive state of being and fulfillment. Offer tools that guide and enhance growth and empowerment regardless of your industry.
  • Create services that support a lifelong journey
    Design for day 95, not just day 1. Starting is only half the battle; but, keeping up with healthy habits is the critical half to success. Pinpoint values to drive lasting change.


As physical retailers went digital, digital retailers are now going physical. Despite the virtual access digital services deliver, people still desire tactile, physical spaces to complement their digital experiences. Create immersive spaces that seamlessly integrate both physical and virtual dimensions.

How to design for Seamless Spaces…

  • Embrace and enhance dual modes
    Transition seamlessly between digital and physical worlds. Help ease context switch with smart triggers and timely transitions.
  • Lead with real-world augmentation
    Augment current experiences by weaving in helpful features that seem invisible. Improve existing real world mental models with just-in-time information.
  • Create tactile, high-touch experiences
    Go beyond visual senses by considering touch and haptic for input and output. Sensor capabilities allow for huge amounts of data to be utilized for improving existing spaces.


XR (extended reality) experiences are changing how we experience reality. But, fully virtual experiences have yet to grow in mass adoption. Seek first to augment reality rather than replicate it. People want to eliminate distance and enhance connections to people and info anytime, anywhere.

How to design for Reality Time…

  • Leverage XR to connect people with people
    Use mixed reality to remove obstacles that prevent in-person connections. Seek user needs that can be addressed by overlaying digital over the real world.
  • Enhance presence through natural senses
    There is familiarity in the real world. The introduction of new experiences needs reminders of familiar detail for all senses.
  • Incorporate cues that help discern realities
    Authenticity and trust naturally come when you bring helpful information to the surface. Be transparent. Build empathy.


Autonomous systems will automate the future, yet humans still desire independence and control. As automation simplifies tasks, designers must build trust and afford better value in new experiences. Automation must be delivered in ways that empower and enhance humanity, not surpass it.

How to design for Human Autonomy…

  • Understand human intent and potential
    Many people resist giving up control to machines. Autonomous experiences designed to anticipate these concerns and empower people with new value will outlast ones that don’t.
  • Design the environment beyond the agent 
    In a hyper-connected world, information can be shared between smart objects in unprecedented ways, requiring us to design not just the object but the interactions with the surrounding environment as well.
  • Build trust with empowering experiences
    Innovations will be accepted as norms as long as trust is slowly built over time. Build confidence by repeatedly exposing users to intentionally crafted positive interactions, thus leading to familiarization for a new standard.


Logic without emotion, risks a genuine connection. Current agents are still rudimentary in conversation and contextual understanding. Evolve assistant experiences to be more personable, relatable and natural in their interactions.

How to design for Emotive Intelligence…

  • Create relatable personal agents
    Prioritize relatability to humans over literal imitation of human features and behavior. Humans relate better to beings that express intuitive understanding and empathetic interactions.
  • Build intuitive systems that allow spontaneity
    Anticipate the curve ball that people like to throw at agents. Delight people unexpectedly. Bring the fun beyond adding just the practical value.
  • Seek to enhance human intelligence over machine
    Celebrate a future where the purpose of technology is to continue helping people be smarter and happier. Focus on user needs over technical possibilities.


Human transport modes and vehicles are quickly evolving to embrace a transformative concept of mobility. Traditional models and behaviors are being disrupted as autonomous vehicles and new mobility services bring products and offerings to people. The key is designing for modular mobility experiences.

How to design for Modular Mobility…

  • Treat mobility as a holistic service
    Think beyond vehicles to focus on transport services and software solutions. Integrate both micro and macro services to holistically support human mobility.
  • Deliver new value with new mobility
    Challenge existing constructs of shuttling people from point A to B. Reconsider moving everything to people to reach their goal faster.
  • Define seamless and flexible systems
    Modular solutions require a systematic, yet flexible approach to design.
    Design individual components with variable use cases in mind.


Move beyond money to reframe services. Seamless services are relational, not transactional. Provide immersive experiences that holistically relate and empower customers across their lifestyle. Shape people’s lives, not only their possessions.

How to design for Relational Value…

  • Address motivational hopes and fears
    Products and services should consistently be communicated in alignment with the audience’s core values and beliefs, whether in anticipation of positive or negative feelings.
  • Celebrate all accomplishments
    Build self-esteem with timely encouragements and celebrations. Make it easy for people to feel proud of the experiences they have with your offerings.
  • Be the voice a friend who genuinely cares
    Personalize communications with familiar speech to connect with niche markets and build trust. Use the voice of an expert, coach, or friend.


Consumers have lost faith in tech institutions to protect people’s best interests. Companies need to design solutions that are open and transparent, revealing how data is used and protected. Being open and honest builds genuine trust.

How to design for Transparent Trust…

  • Begin with personal data stewardship
    Businesses collect personal data for improved customer experiences but must be transparent about unanticipated ways that personal data will be used.
  • Commit to ethical design
    Choose designs that clearly fulfill promises to the customer. Trust is built by delivering on promises and listening for feedback. Don’t hide information to help your business.
  • Build empathy with information
    Today’s hyper-connected world enables new opportunities to build human empathy, such as surfacing insights along the supply chain. Surface information to strengthen bonds across individuals and cultures.

People are always the priority
At Punchcut, we help accelerate innovation for our partners through seamless product experience design. We put people first in all we do. We co-create with our clients to envision, design and realize the future we want to live in.

Though our list is not finite, these are the topics and imperatives we’ve distilled from our research and experience over the past year that are guiding our design efforts. We hope these help you in driving success in your company and its products.

1. Design for Breathing Space
2. Design for Human Equity
3. Design for Infinite Wellness
4. Design for Seamless Spaces
5. Design for Reality Time
6. Design for Human Autonomy
7. Design for Emotive Intelligence
8. Design for Modular Mobility
9. Design for Relational Value
10. Design for Transparent Trust

A Punchcut Future View
Contributors: Nancy Ku, Ken Olewiler, Kimberly Le, Konstantine Pangalos, and Nick Munro

For more design insights read our Future View newsletter.