Decadence in App Design

In this article im going to explain how to break through the bullshit and make the best work of your life vs what Wallstreet thinks is kosher

As an ex designer at Lyft and a decade -old veteran of app design I know a thing or two — so here it is, served up straight. An article on how to capture that wholesome ethereal quality which gets your audience to respect you and fall in love with your work.

It all comes down to three basic principles most designers are gliding over: respect your customers time, respect your customers attention, respect your customers energy. Thats it! You’ve graduated from a designer who does not give a fuck to a designer who gives a fuck or two 🎉

Now — lets dive into the deets of how this works:

Whats the difference between good design and great design? Is it UI… or UX? Is it the brand or the value proposition, or any number of other hot keywords getting thrown around in our community? No. Its literally all about giving a shit about your fellow human beings and providing them with a wholesome service above and beyond their expectations.

What is respect? Im talking about the different kinds of apps youve used — which all try to do their best to mine the money out of you. You know what im talking about. Youve probably downloaded and used a few of those. Theyre experiences which are disengenious at best and dark-patterned all over the place at worst. Apps that treat you as a resource, a number, a statistic. Businesses that make it obvious with their interface that they would like to milk every last bit of money out of you that they possibly can and discard you off the side of the road like a crushed beer can. aka businesses that make it clear within seconds that they disrespect you and that youre just a number to them.

Ive had so many of these experiences. They usually crop up in bullshit corpa-corp apps that are generating ‘shareholder value’ and attempting to ‘maximize profit’. You facepalm when you experience these interfaces because they dont have the basics right and are designed in a way which makes you utterly aware that they dont give single flippin’ shit about your existence. They ooze so much phony sleeze that they impede and force you to gag on the drilled-down fact that they only care about your money. They scream into your mind at the top of their lungs that they're a sole-profit-motive corporation focused not on providing you with a service but an institution crazed by the sole prospect of emptying as much out of your pockets as possible.

We get past this by recognizing some foundational basics as designers:

  1. We come to a consensus that no one uses apps for their interface. That all the ‘customers’ who use apps use them for a specific reason. These apps must carry out the utility of what theyre meant for flawlessly reguardless of how fucking good they look. Nobody who needs an urgent Uber to a job interview stops and thinks about the design of the app. They think about the price, the time, the driver pickup and all the other essentials of the service provided by the client. Nobody is using your app for the design. Period. Theyre using it to DO SOMETHING in their realtime LIFE.
  2. From the first moment you touch an app like Strava and with every subsequent interaction it must be immediately clear that the app values its customers time. That to the app, the person interacting with it is not simply a user or a number or a corporate resource. The app must recognize them as HUMAN BEINGS and channel that energy back to them. It must make it immediately clear that it is also designed by likeminded human beings and wants them to succeed in turn. That in yearns for this — that it is cheering them on to achieve their goals, their dreams and aspirations!
  3. An application like Figma must learn from established services like the dining and hospitality industires to not only acknowledge the customer but go above and beyond their expectations. To breakthrough and BLOW THEM AWAY with the red-carpet service and fireworks they will roll out. To deliver over 110% means that the business presented through the app will go above, beyond and over the moon to deliver the highest quality service to the customer! They will put in the human-effort to feed you when youre hungry and the kitchen’s closed, to tuck you in when youre drunk and tired, to provide caring non — machine hyper-customized support when youre having problems.

It is only by being wholesome and genuine that we can deliver our best work as designers. It is by channeling the caring spirit of giving a shit about customers and respecting them that we can capture their attention most effectively. To be the best at anything — is to make design work of the highest quality. And to make work of the highest quality amongst peers means making work that ultimately grabs our visitors and instantly communicates that we genuinely care about them. To do this we must design things which genuinely best help fellow humans and not things which are perfect in the corporate sense.

And when we care about our customers and stop thinking of them as users and as resources, they will start to care about us. They will view our organizations not as souless corpa-corps but as businesses invested in their success. Business which know why their customers are spending time in their apps and who are able to articulate why they are invested in the success of their customers at every step. To catch them when they fall and to provide them not only an exceptional experience way beyond their expectations but push through to a ludicrously passionate and life changing event they are able to ruminate on like a great movie every single time!

Thanks for reading — and if youre on the market for a bicycle check out my decadent Android, iOS, Web app called Sprocket via

If you find something to improve please write me feedback at — Im looking to connect you with the perfect bicycle and I will climb the tallest mountain, ford the widest river, to get you there ❤

Designer @OneSignal, Founder @Retrographic | Ex @Lyft. Follow me at

Designer @OneSignal, Founder @Retrographic | Ex @Lyft. Follow me at