Designing for Solitude

Session Title

Designing for Solitude


Ben Fullerton, IDEO

Session Type: Presentation

We live in a world where our ability to be connected and constantly available has changed in a remarkably short period of time, with profound effects on our behaviour. As designers, we are often asked to reflect this always-on state in the products, software and services we help to create.

Because of this, finding solitude – our ability to switch off and contemplate – is becoming more difficult. What are the affects of this on us and our relationships with each other? Is it important for our creativity to detach ourselves from the world around us? And what might the products and services we design for an off state look like?


Ben Fullerton is a designer at IDEO in the Bay Area where he focuses on designing product, software and service interactions for IDEO’s various public and private sector clients. Prior to heading west, Ben worked at Samsung’s design studio in London, helped to start pioneering service design and innovation studio live|work, and sat through boom/bust 1.0 at one of the UK’s first full service digital agencies, Oyster Partners. He has been published in the ACM’s Interactions magazine, has been a visiting lecturer at the Royal College of Art, run workshops on service design at UC Berkeley, and advised students at NYU’s ITP.


  1. Posted September 15, 2009 at 12:02 pm

    Good and highly relevant topic! Eager to see what you do with it.

  2. Posted September 15, 2009 at 3:01 pm

    I’d like to see this. My research on religion and ICT use has highlighted various ways users’ negotiate between wanting be alone and the “access anytime and anywhere” paradigms that shapes current ICT design. It would be nice to learn from another person’s perspectives on this topic.

  3. Posted September 15, 2009 at 3:22 pm

    A great topic – hope to hear this talk.

  4. Posted September 16, 2009 at 8:13 am

    Beautiful topic, and Ben is the guy to present it.

  5. Posted September 19, 2009 at 10:33 pm

    Wow. I wish I was smart enough to come up with this. I’ll be in the front row.