Bachelor of Design Student, Freelance Digital Designer, Musician. I write about design and life. Twitter: @sarahsaccomanno

How Canada’s Charity Help Line Workers are barely hanging on, and how we can use Service Design to improve their experience

Content Warning: The following article discusses deteriorating Mental Health issues in adults as well as children.

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Admittedly, this is tough for me to write. Between losing a childhood friend to a mental health condition, to working in a chronic pain clinic where we were often the adult version of Kid’s Help Phone. Thank you to my Professor Yvonne Shek who inspired and encouraged me to share this story.


I remember they made us memorize that in grade two or three? I had a sticker with the phone number on it attached to my landline phone in my bedroom. I’ve never called the line myself, but I’ve given it to a certain friend who was having some trouble at home. Reading Diane Buckner’s article from CBC surrounding the workplace conditions of the Kids Help Phone workers gave a strange combination of sympathy and disappointment, especially having been in a similar situation of emotional burnout at one point in my healthcare job. …

How Joe Gebbia and AirBnb designed a new form of trust.

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Kidnapped in a Miata and offered a stranger a night on an air mattress?

Seems odd, but this is the origin story of the infamous service design concept: Airbnb. Many people see it on the superficial level- an app and website used to book cheap accommodations. However, it’s more than just its meticulously designed digital components. It’s more than the red and white colour scheme and push notifications. Joe Gebbia, co-founder of Airbnb, stumbled upon a new sliver of the service industry after locking his bedroom door at night paralyzed by the fear of what he had just done. Fast forward to the year 2014, and Airbnb was offering lodging in 35,000 cities (that’s 192 countries) and over 600,000 properties. …

How first, second and third-order effects are crucial in service design

A photo of Macquarie Island from afar
A photo of Macquarie Island from afar

Macquarie Island, as described in Upstream: The Quest to Solve Problems Before They Happen by Dan Heath, is a small island (owned by the state of Tasmania) halfway between New Zealand and Antarctica. It’s one of the few islands where animals are able to breed in the area, and due to the fact that it’s uninhabited by humans (aside from visiting researchers), has a plethora of beautifully rare species [Heath, 2020] One of those species is the Blue Petrel, which (after looking up a photo of the bird) is quite beautiful to see in full flight and wingspan. …

How Disney has effectively mastered the art of ecosystem-based service design.

Big castle in Disney World at dusk with a crescent moon behind
Big castle in Disney World at dusk with a crescent moon behind

Disney is probably one of the most well-oiled service machines on the planet. Having just recently been there (pre-COVID), it’s almost unbelievable until you witness it with your own eyes. Many companies try to emulate the ‘Disney effect’, but no matter how hard they try they just can’t match the attention to detail and experience that Disney is able to provide its patrons and cast members. …

March 28th, 2020

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Editors Note: I left this sitting in my drafts for months before I decided to post it. The reason I decided to go ahead four months later is because I believe it’s important we document these feelings- this moment in time where everything went eerily still. Perhaps we can look back on it with more evolved eyes and try to relive these moments.

Nobody expects things like this to happen to society, and when it does it’s usually in a movie. It’s as if someone has pressed pause on an old VHS tape and the screen ripples, still trying to buzz with little grains of movement. The film has stopped, but not quite. …

From pattern recognition to passive interaction. How design has changed through Smart Tech and Digital Automation

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The Routine

Routines are a part of how humans interact with the world and can be described as a regular implementation of a sequence of actions. They are a personal curation of consistent actions over a long period of time.

“The coherence of an ordered life also lays the groundwork for pursuit of larger goals — and thus the equally important aspects of purpose and significance.” Matthew Hutson

Research shows that routines allow us to find meaning in life, despite the fact that the actions we constitute as routines are usually mundane tasks. This is a fascinating concept that has been researched extensively, and shows that with routine comes consistency and certainty, which makes room for special instances that become memorable.

Disclaimer: In this article, there are various brands, and resources mentioned. These recommendations are NOT SPONSORED and are tools that I have personally spent my own money and time on.

One: Make a list of everything you’ve accomplished from 2010–2019

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I think that it’s important you do this task first. We are so used to living in a world of “I wish”, harsh criticism and desire for more. Wanting to be more is not a bad thing, but it’s important we look back on the things we already have accomplished to keep our balance and our confidence in check. …

A minimalistic collection of quotes for every designer

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Optional mindfulness exercise: at every page break, take one deep breath, inhaling through the nose and exhaling through the mouth.


“It’s through mistakes that you actually can grow. You have to get bad in order to get good.” Paula Scher


“A designer knows he has achieved perfection not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.Antoine de Saint-Exupéry


“Design is not for philosophy. It’s for lifeIssey Miyake


“Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it worksSteve Jobs


“The alternative to good design is always bad design.

Doesn’t feel good does it?

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Okay, Boomer.
Now it’s your turn.
To be generalized and blamed
For all the wrong turns.

Remember the feeling when your headline read
That you’ve “killed” something else
So their generation says.

Remember that anger, that resentful sigh
When you’re blamed for an economy
That was destined to die.

Remember that fuming, hateful growl,
When the news says your existence
Is a spoiled scowl.

Don’t forget that feeling of utter betrayal
When you’re only just living
In the way that you are able

While you’re trying your best
To do what you can
It’s never enough
For the rest of your clan. …

How users are an afterthought in the battle of progress.

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I have been an Apple iPod user since the launch of the iPod Nano in 2005, and an Apple OS user since 2008 with the launch of their MacBook Pro. I have faithfully remained a customer of Apple updating my technology, software and mindset to their revolutionary user experiences. I write this from a position of longstanding support for the company, for Jobs’ work and as a Design Student studying UX.

Catalina, the newest operating system 10.15, was announced at the WWDC on June 3rd, 2019. The newest software genius from the tech mega-corp was set to release publicly available on all laptops and Macbooks in October 2019 of this year. …

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