We are interaction designers focused on the power of rituals to build value, meaning & community into our everyday experiences.
This site is a home for what we are calling a “ritual design”. We are combining the study of rituals with user centered experience design. On these pages, find explanations of how rituals work, lots of inspiration of successful rituals, and profiles of some of the ritual designs that we have been working.
Rituals can be grand, dramatic things, or they can be tiny, personal ones. Either way, rituals help people to understand the world, cope with transitions, express strong emotions, and build their own life story.Our hypothesis is that designers can use the patterns and mechanics of rituals to develop better designs — that are engaging for users, and that offer more meaning to them.
Our Ritual Design Work
Our team holds workshops and classes to create new rituals, and to explore how designers can incorporate ritual methods into their work. Most of our classes are at Stanford’s Institute of Design (the d.school), where we teach Ritual Design.
Designing Autonomous Car to Human Rituals
In Jan 2018, we will be teaching a 2-session pop-up course, partnering with Stanford Center for Design Research. In this pop-up, we will be focusing on the human to machine rituals. We welcome students who are interested in how to create rich interactions in untapped territories of robots and artificial intelligence, and who want to explore humorous, strange, magical, and curious ways to do so.
Want to join us? Apply here — only for Stanford students and community.
Ritual Design for Orgs: Team Life Cycles
In October 2017, we will be teaching a 2-session pop-up course, partnering with Microsoft. In this pop-up, we will go after rapid ritual design sprints and look for the high emotional energy zones within teams. We welcome students who are interested in how to create stronger cultures in their own orgs and companies, and who want to explore humorous, strange, magical, and curious ways to do so.
Want to join us? Apply here — only for Stanford students.
Ritual Design for Org Change
In this class, we shifted our focus from personal rituals to organizations, and organizational change. In February 2017, we taught a 2-session pop-up course at SAP Labs Palo Alto, on ritual design.
Rituals have a special power to bring people together and give them a sense of purpose, values, and meaning. Especially in the realms of sports, politics, and religion, rituals unite people and bring out deep emotions. How can we harness this power of rituals in other kinds of organizations?
In this pop-up we designed new rituals for a company, to explore how design methods and creative improvisation can help us craft more meaningful culture. Students worked in teams to rapidly prototype new rituals for our partner, and they will learn video storytelling techniques to capture them. We welcomed students who are interested in how to create stronger cultures in their own orgs and companies, and who want to explore humorous, strange, magical, and curious ways to do so.
In February 2015, we taught a 3-session pop-up course at Stanford Institute of Design (the d.school) on ritual design. We used rituals as our framework to design rich experiences around four everyday themes: food, grooming, productivity, and commuting. We took existing routines, discovered new meaning(s), and infused ritual moments. Each student developed and create their own ritual concept.
While building on the entire design process, in this class the focus was on developing strong definition and ideation skills and using advanced tools such as experience/user journey mapping, abstract laddering and storyboarding.
For our ritual design classes and workshops, we’ve synthesized the framework and inspiration we’ve been gathering into a brainstorm app, Ideapop. It gives structured prompts to you, as you think about what new ritual interactions you might create.
We built the app for a person or team to inspire better sparks for possible rituals, using always-new mixes of analogies, props, and contexts. The app gives you the context, and then lets you pop new ones, or record and take notes, photos, and videos to document what new rituals you design.
Ritual Design Hotline
You tell us your problem. We will make you a ritual.
The Problem: Parking Ticket Rage
I got a parking ticket. It was for not having my wheels turned into the curb. It’s ridiculous.
When I walked back to my car and saw that ticket, I felt a level of dread that soured my whole day. Now I am filled with rage. I don’t want to pay the money, but I did pay the money. I am still angry.
Our Ritual Design: Parking Ticket Sautee
It’s all about the rage. We designed a Parking Ticket Sautee ritual so you can eat it.
You must really eat the ticket to get the full benefit of the ritual. At least a bite. Or a taste.
The Problem: Credit Term Avoidance
I want to be better about credit cards. I sign up for them, get approved, all is well. Then I get a huge, nasty packet of paper in the mail, along with the beautiful little plastic card. I never read the paper.
It ends up on a shelf, or in a drawer, and I cant throw it away. What can I do to get myself to read it, know it, and throw it away?
Our Ritual Design: Luxuriate in Boredom
We made a ritual for you. It will be boring, but in a kind of meditative, spa way. Let it wash over you. And then you can burn and shred that paper once you’re done being thoroughly, refreshingly bored by it.
Please follow the picture precisely. You must soak in the boredom. Enjoy the pens. This is a special occasion — mark it up with lines and eat the chocolate.