How To Make Stuff People Love: My Design Playbook

Last updated on 6 March 2023

Design for sustainable engagement is design for healthy relationships.

When we create something, we start a relationship with whomever uses it. As the ones starting these relationships, it’s our responsibility (and in our best interests) to make them healthy ones.

The Ladder of Sustainable Engagement is a framework for crafting products & services that provide meaningful value, have a balanced rhythm, embody an emotional personality, and endure over time.

Ladder of Sustainable Engagement @brianpagan

My work for the past few years has been about helping people make healthy choices. In my eyes, the biggest challenge there is keeping people engaged in the relationship once we’ve started it.

So this is my answer to that challenge, an attempt to understand what a product or service needs to be to engage people in a sustainable way. I don’t intend this to be exhaustive, nor to be perfect. But I do hope it’s useful for you, dear reader, and for myself ?

Online Course

I’ve released this as a Udemy course through The Greatness Studio!

Check out the course here.

How to Make Stuff People LOVE - SOCIAL


Here are the slides from my talk at @AmsterdamUX.

Making Stuff People Love -


Further Reading

This Is Just The Beginning

The Ladder of Sustainable Engagement represents the foundation of my design playbook. It’s part of a larger quest to articulate my own design vision, mission, and process. If you’re on a similar quest, or if you’re looking to develop your UX superpowers, stop by The Greatness Studio and see if we can help!

Special thanks to Hester Bruikman!

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