IxD17 Talk / Final Destination: Creating a better afterlife for our digital treasures.

It's official! I will be speaking at next year's Interaction Design Conference in NYC! I'm very humbled and honored to be given this opportunity. This is a topic that has been very near and dear to my heart for quite sometime now. This talk will be a culmination of several years of thinking, writing, observing and reflection - particularly with the recent loss of my brother-in-law, Eli. I'll be continuing a series of personal interviews and workshops to inform the content of this talk. If you are interested in participating, please email me at say@hellostranger.us

Talk abstract

Products have a perspective problem. Their view of a user’s journey is too narrow and fails to account for one of the most basic human qualities of their customers - mortality.

Many digital services that generate personal content and data provide, at best, deactivation and/or memorialization options. This approach addresses profile access control or removal but neglects needs surrounding content collection, preservation and inheritance. People increasingly view their digital content as valuable heirlooms, serving as rich records of their life’s experiences to be shared beyond their lifetime. In reality, friends and family of deceased customers are left with little or no options to retrieve these heirlooms in any meaningful way. The result is large amounts of rich, personal and emotionally significant content left to float in a digital purgatory, just out of reach to those who treasure it most.

Products that sit within highly personal and social spaces have an obligation to their customer community to address these needs. This talk will present a framework and set of guiding principles for supporting this underserved, yet important, phase of a product’s user experience.


Whom is this talk relevant to?

Anyone creating or managing products in which personal content is generated through their use and considered valuable by customers. These include, but not limited to, social networks, media creation and management services, health records, family ancestry tools and genetic mapping services.

  • Product designers and teams interested in addressing end-of-life needs and considerations within their product’s user experience.

  • UX Designers seeking to provide more proactive, meaningful and empathetic solutions that better serve end of life transition points.

  • Entrepreneurs and business managers seeking to differentiate their products by incorporating empathetic and considerate solutions beyond basic profile memorialization.

  • Analytics / Data Scientists seeking guidance on how to proactively structure data to support better life status transitions.


What are three takeaways you can expect to walk away with?

  • A view of the product experience journey that goes beyond one life.

  • Guiding principles and considerations when designing pre- and post-life touch points that service content access, preservation and distribution.

  • Benefits of integrating “whole life” perspective into your product’s user experience.