Day: April 27, 2020

Volume 17 – Thank you for Noticing


Noticing Children Waiting to Be Seen

There is a joy in seeing a child’s face light up when a product has been designed just for them, particularly children that may be different. Brands often design for the mainstream, yet Mattel and Target are two brands that have Noticed the gap and taken the extra steps to be inclusive of children who may not always feel like everyone else.   

Ella Rogers, a two-year-old with Spina Bifida, was overjoyed to receive a Barbie doll in a wheel chair that felt just like her.  Artist Crystal Kayes creates custom hand-painted dolls with vitiligo, a rare skin condition, to spotlight the unique and diverse attributes of real kids, help break down barriers, and boost self-esteem for children.

And a photo of young Oliver Garza-Pena’s reaction to an in-store Target display went viral inspiring thousands, reminding us that while we continue to consciously focus on diversity, let’s also ensure we are also well representing people with different needs and challenges.

Who are we NOT Noticing? And in what ways might we design our Experiences to ensure those individuals who may be overlooked feels seen and included?

The Importance of Eye Contact

Have you ever Noticed what your instinctual response is when encountering a person Experiencing homelessness? Do you put your head down? Act busy?  Or perhaps LOOK the individual in the eyes, with a warm smile.    

In this piece, Kayla Robbins shares “The first time you see a person Experiencing homelessness as fully human, equal to yourself, and deserving of the same safety and security you enjoy is a unique Experience. It’s also an Experience that we need more people to have.”

This behavior translates so directly to health care. We are often too busy to LOOK at one another – racing down hallways, LOOKING at a phone, lost in the business of the day. And yet it’s amazing how much a simple and Intentional acknowledgment of another person’s presence not only helps that person feel seen and important, it allows you to slow down, be attentive and connect, even if only for a moment. 

Experiment with making real eye contract and see how it feels.  In The Experience Lab, one practice we employ to LOOK and SEE all people in our days is to strive to LOOK into the eyes of each individual we encounter, smile, and say to ourselves (in our head) “I see you.”  Try this simple practice and feel the difference.


When this New York Times piece came out late last year, it was an important reminder to consider what we spend the most time LOOKING at. For many, it’s a smartphone – a device that has distracted many of us from Noticing the beauty of humanity that surrounds us. This article is an invitation to pause and intentionally Notice the people and places around us. 

 What details large and small await when we take time to LOOK up and truly see? What invisible detail becomes more prominent? And most importantly what might we do with the details and information we see to design our Experiences anew?  This is your cue to put down the phone, take a walk, LOOK up and begin Noticing.

A Maze-Like Park to Keep People Apart

Many public parks have closed worldwide because of the fear that people can’t follow the  six foot physical/social distancing guidelines, limiting the outdoor places people have to escape, exercise, and enjoy the outdoors.

Austria-based studio Precht used this new rule as a design constraint to conceptualize “Park de la Distance”—a maze-like park that encourages physical distance in Vienna. It is shaped by the human touch: inspired by a fingerprint and LOOKING like an elaborate green labyrinth from above. With parallel lanes for visitors to stroll through the green landscape, each lane allows only one person to enter at a time, with thoughtful gates and visual cues indicating if the path is free. The walk is intended to serve as an urban oasis for a 20 minute stroll to self-reflect, center and be outside while staying safe.

So many aspects of our life, work, and world are being imagined and designed anew in this pandemic. What simple aspect of your Experience, using a physical distancing constraint, could be transformed?