Design is a form of hospitality.
Done well, design should be welcoming. It should invite users into the world it creates, making them feel at home. This is true for websites, apps, books, posters, album covers — you name it.
Most design is about reducing friction: reducing the friction to find information, to connect with friends, to share your thoughts, to consume more content. Reducing friction is a form of hospitality.
Not all design is meant to reduce friction, of course. If you’re designing an interface for a missile defense system, you probably want to increase the friction around hitting the big red button. Making people feel comfortable — giving them appropriate guardrails that reduce the fear of making mistakes — is a form of hospitality.
Making users feel like they know what they’re doing is a form of hospitality.
Giving users a pleasant place to spend their time is a form of hospitality.
Making tasks easier so users can get back to their real lives — their homes and hobbies and families — is a form of hospitality.
Creating mechanisms that deliberately addict your users is not hospitable.
Luring your users into behaviors for the sole purpose of generating data that you sell to third parties is not hospitable.
Transparently providing a service and charging for it is hospitable.
This is why hotels are hospitable in a way that casinos are not.
Let’s seek to design hotels, not casinos.