Joe Macleod (Design Thinker, Industry Advisor, Author, UK)
Closure Experiences, Customer lifecycle

MOBX 2017 Speaker

MOBX 2017 speaker: Joe Macleod
Joe Macleod

Joe Macleod’s 20-year professional career has been based in the leading web, telecoms and carrier companies, where he led teams and built a variety of successful products. Most recently as Head of Design at the award-winning digital product studio Ustwo. Where he built a globally recognised team, working with the world’s favourite brands on the most pioneering of products.

He is also a regular speaker and commentator of design and design education, founder of the IncludeDesign campaign that brought the UK’s leading designers together to defend creative education.

Joe (@mrmacleod) now works on the Closure Experiences project researching endings, where he talks, consults and writes about this important, yet overlooked issue. Most recently publishing the ‘Ends’ book, that captures the historical, societal issues that have led to the problems we have with endings, and lays down a common philosophy and purpose for this theme (Ends.: Why we overlook endings for humans, products, services and digital. And why we shouldn’t.).


  • Customer lifecycle
  • Closure Experiences
  • Consumerism

MOBX 2017 presentation

Ends. Why we need to design them

Ends were once profound – they had meaning, but in our consumer society we have overlooked this. Instead we are encouraged to drunkenly stumble from purchase to purchase, with any sense of longevity and responsibility removed. Long term side effects of this are exampled in the product, service and digital landscapes that we frequent and so often design. The consequences of our behaviour results in a changing climate, industries fined billions for mis-selling and individuals casually eroding their personal online reputations.

As designers we are active in the creation of services, products and digital products; making them attractive, engaging and usable for consumers. The work we create tends to concentrate on the on-boarding of customers. Long term responsibility or neutralisation of these experiences – the off-boarding, is overlooked. In short, we are good at creating experiences around the beginning of the customer life-cycle, but terrible at creating a coherent, neutralised ending.

This presentation covers some of the key points from the Ends book. Arguing we have lost touch with Ends or ‘closure’ over recent generations and are in a state of denial. The argument is established through historic changes in society, evidence from academia, and our changing relationship with death. Further examples go into details from product, service and digital sectors as well as our wider society.

The presentation delves into the creative industry with a focus on digital and what closure means for interaction designers. It challenges the conventional design process and the clients that collude in a focus on ‘sign up’, ‘first use’, and ‘continued use’ as stages of importance. It offers an alternative point of view, that embeds endings in the customer lifecycle, showing the wide reaching benefits for the entire user experience, benefits for businesses and improvements to the ills of consumer culture.

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