We design services and products for a happy outcome but bad news is part of day to day.

we don’t get the perfect match on dating apps

we don’t get results from 1 000 CVs

we don’t get fit just by using fitbit

How do we retain users in the system when this happens? When the interaction is not positive.

Dscout demo

Did research on how people react to bad news

Listed companies that do well and poorly.

bad news come from many angles

breaking down bad

the category is not what makes bad news, and you can get responses at many levels of disapointment.

these acumulate over time.


very few services design for bad news.

people we are bad at delivering bad news.

The mum effect: we avoid delivering bad news and we try to mediate it or spin it.


  • Binder !
  • The compliment sandwich.


examples of companies that deliver bad news well and bad

Set the frame

  • explain what happened
  • tell the user how he can improve

carrot app AI is experimenting with humor to deliver news

1 minimize the footprint

plausible deniability (tinder)

better goals, progressive goal setting mapped to the user’s behaviour (fitbit)

well timed heads up (united airlines)

indiegogo helps the funders and gives them feedback to improve the business and appeal to investors.

2 Message effectively
  • empathy
  • explanation
  • early
  • effort
  • encouragement
3 make a whoop
4 signal investment

let users tell us when they really care