Design Hierarchy of Needs

Today I learned about a “design hierarchy of needs” that essentially maps onto Maslowe’s hierarchy of needs, which is one of my favorite teaching tools when I’m helping students understand novels. In an informative article, Steven Bradley explains all the connections between Maslowe’s hierarchy and his own, and he then offers some analysis and application. What I like best about Bradley’s presentation is that he doesn’t shy away from presenting the key criticisms of these hierarchies.

But then he does a nice crossover, basketball style, placing responsibility back on the user in a way that any pragmatist would appreciate: “These hierarchies are not absolutes that you must follow. As with all design, look at your success criteria to determine your design objectives. Your audience may well prefer an aesthetically beautiful website that has occasional hiccups to a boring website that is perfectly reliable.”

Here’s a screen grab of Bradley’s hierarchy. The idea is, to get to the top, you have to work up from the bottom, satisfying each step. As with all the terminologies I present, I suggest that you now go looking for it IRL. See if it applies to your work or your play. See if it helps you to solve problems. See if it, somehow, makes things lighter or better or more useful. Happy Friday.

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