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Humanize your software design,
by defining your

Principles First

A workshop for teams & stakeholders.


  • Is there clarity in your product vision?
  • Is there a just cause for what you are building in the digital space?
  • Is your software able to involve your customers?


Start building Conversational Assistants,
instead of applications.

A Guide to Design Principles

Humanize Software Design Exercises

The warm up

Sometimes when I walk into a room I see nervous people. When this happen I smile… because I know their nervousness will fade away in the next couple of minutes.

This exercise is meant to relax people. Having a laugh simply bonds people together, lightens the mood and frankly makes people perform at their best.

This is also the time when I clearly communicate that all input is valued equally, a merit of a co-creation workshop.

Although this is a warm up exercise. There is an important lesson to be learned. 


Character & Personality traits

The best advice I can give you: “Don’t listen to what people say, be aware of what they do!” 

This applies in real-life as wel as in digital product design. In this exercise we will define the character & personality of your assistant.

It’s my mission to humanize software design. The best way to achieve this is treat your software as an entity. 

After defining the character & personality traits of your assistant we can start to imagine how your product will interact with your customers.



Emotion Mapping

Thoughts create emotions and emotions results in actions, or the lack thereof.

In this exercise we will map positive and negative emotions linked to your product or service. TU Delft, a renowned research university in The Netherlands indexed the positive and negative emotions humans have while reacting to certain situations.

In customer journeys we mainly focus on positive, negative or neutral emotions. This gives poor guidance to design decisions and the result of customer journeys are often software features instead of conversations with your customers.

In this exercise will create an accurate frame of reference of emotions for your product or service.

Framing your emotional spectrum will guide your teams design effort. A powerful tool in your arsenal.

Product Ikigai

This exercise will expose misalignment between stakeholders. By answering four questions we are able to identify if everybody is on the same page.

Defining a clear ikigai will help everybody involved in the project to understand in which direction you are heading.

This exercise will define your reason of being.


Product Character Canvas

If there is one exercise that will make this workshop worth your money, it is the product character canvas. You will learn this one trick that will humanize your production process.

Turn away from functions and features and choose the help your customers with intent, purpose and meaning.

Help you customers, build relationships with your customers in the digital space and sales will follow.

Have meaningful human engagments with your customers through your well balanced converational assistant.


We would love to welcome you to our gorgeous resort in the breathtaking beach of Koh pi pi



  1. The best way to extend your brand into the digital space.
  2. Design Principles enable you to build digital assistants instead of applications!
  3. People simply forget. It’s human nature to forget and to deviate from the plan, design principles keeps your design effort laser-focused.
  4. Design principles align stakeholders* perspectives in short evocative vision statements.
  5. Design principles create arguments for decision making
  6. They enable scaling your teams with ease.
  7. Design principles make your product distinct and authentic.
  8. They make your brand actionable in the digital space.
  9. Design principles communicate what is important for your business, your customers and your team.
  10. They reclaim productivity as they stop discussions based on opinions, sentiment and bias.
  11.  They offer a frame of reference for your creative process; a compass towards your goal.
  12. They have the power to bond teams and create mutual understanding among team-members.
  13. Design Principles work magic on alignment between all stakeholders involved. 
  14. They enable effective operation; especially when the pressure gets on.
* Lead-consumers are stakeholders too! If you are not building with them, you are not building for them!


  1. Design used circular becomes ethical, aesthetic & strategic. Design used at the end is just veneer. Build a future we want, design with principles.
  2. Design Principles set you apart from the competition and define your moral compass.
  3. Design Principles support you in building a quality product, day in day out.
  4. They are a great excuse to get all important stakeholders involved. A social way of aligning your stakeholders through a design principle workshop. Learn early on what matters to them.
  5. They are the gatekeeper for quality decisions.
  6. They save you time and money because you have created a mutual and shared project vision.
  7. They guide stakeholders in the decision making process. They remove they remove bias, which could be a result of personal taste or personal preference.
  8.  Co-created Design principles set the bar for business ethos, moral & ethics.
  9. They are an amazing tool in value Analysis.
    They gauge the value of existing features and guide creative direction for new products or elements.
  10. They can boost the quality of your products, because they are at the root of every design decision.
  11. Co-created design principles most likely kill
    assumption creep. Because a lot of perspectives were used in forging them.
  12. Skills can be learned, process is hard to master. Design Principles are the guiding tool for your design process.
  13. A product created with the help of design principles will be a reflection of what the stakeholders are aiming to achieve with this project.


  1. They give meaning to your teams design process and efforts.
  2. You can make better decisions, because you can produce new ideas with the guidance of your co-created design principles.
  3. They are inspirational and challenge your team-member in pushing the envelope for amazing and wow experiences.
  4. The creation process in forging Design principles will teach you how your team mates think and help you and your team in making the best decisions possible.
  5. Attracting people to your project becomes a breeze because your design principles radiate passion and purpose.
  6. Design principles align work ethos and product direction with the value’s of your team members; creating a feel of purpose.
  7. They speed up the design process, because they are the input for your design rationale.
  8. They help choose the gems from the ideas your team is having.
  9. Design principles scale over multiple teams, help during growth and ease new team member on-boarding.
  10. Through your design principles it becomes much easier for new team members to understand those things that are so unique and important to your product vision.
  11. They can steam-line production and creative direction for remote team members.


  1. As a potential customer you can decide if you care. Public design principles are a good indicator for quality and trust. Shouldn’t every president state their principles before they take office?
  2. They make a  project feel clean and concise;
    professional in short.
  3. They can give a product a Authenticity and character, making your efforts mesmerizing.
  4. They can create a feel of respect & trust.
  5. They expose a feel of ambition and passion.
  6. They can surprise and amuse or evoke a user.
  7. They create clarity and manage expectations.
  8. The support a feel of coherance and balance.
  9. They communicate value’s you relate too, or not.
  10. They can make you feel safe and heard.


Define your design principles within a couple of days

  1. Your Assistant definition in a small e-book.
  2. Actionable Design Principles for your team.
  3. Aligned stakeholders.

Want to start building your Conversational Assistant?

I support teams in achieving their best work by defining complex systems as design principles.

Switching mindsets from application to assistant making your software polite, pleasant and simply easy to work with. 

Defining your project into actionable design principles result in engagement with your customers and invigorates your digital product design.

Book your Design Principles First workshop now!

Brand Assistant Studio

We build Conversational Assistants for Meaningful Brands. © 2011-2020

The Stellar UX Program

Humanize your Software with Design Principles.

For Brand Managers, Product VP’s, Product Managers & Digital Product Designers
who want to design engagement and traction, instead of functional experiences.


Experience review in video
What emotions are triggered by your application? Can we detect (micro)frustrations? Are there any experience gaps? The experience review video’s are used for analysis by senior experience designers. (10yr+) A review & learn format for product managers and teams. Book now

Workshop: Design Principles First

Humanizing your software design start with design principles first. Define your conversational assistant. A co-creation workshop for teams and stakeholders.

Book now

Stellar UX Toolkit for teams The toolkit for teams humanizing software design by designing with principles, focusing on human activity pairs, daily activities & routines, Emotion and experience mapping. Using Conversational Interaction Design to create a mindset shift from application to assistant. Free Toolkit for teams

All workshops, exercises and formats are remote compatible.

Learn more about humanizing your software design.

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