Maslow’s Hierarchy

Abraham Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs is a popular psychological theory that outlines human needs in a hierarchical order. The hierarchy is divided into five levels, namely physiological, safety, love/belonging, esteem, and self-actualization. The theory suggests that human needs must be met in a particular order, starting from the most basic needs to the highest level of self-actualization.

Traditional Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

  • Physiological Needs
  • Safety Needs
  • Love/Belonging Needs
  • Esteem Needs
  • Self-Actualization Needs


Design oriented Maslow’s Hierarchy

Creativity → Realization
  • Innovative interactions with aesthetic beauty.
  • Design is perceived to be at the highest level.
Proficiency → Expression
  • Empower people to do more and better.
  • Design is perceived to be of a high level.
Usability → Belonging
  • Design is forgiving and easy to use.
  • Design is perceived to be of moderate value.
Reliability → Impact
  • Stable and consistent performance.
  • Design is perceived to be of low value.
Functionality → Day-to-day
  • Design works to meet basic functional needs.
  • Design is perceived to have little to no value.


When considering the needs of a user, it can be helpful to think of them in terms of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. At the base of the pyramid are the physiological needs, such as food, water, and shelter. Once these basic needs are met, the user can move up to the next level of safety needs, which include things like job security and financial stability.

However, it is important not to forget the other levels of Maslow’s Hierarchy. For example, social needs such as friendship, love, and belonging are important for a user’s emotional well-being. Esteem needs, such as the need for respect and recognition, can also have a significant impact on the user’s overall satisfaction.

Therefore, when designing for a user, it is important to consider all of these needs and how they can be met through the design. This can involve creating a user-friendly interface that is easy to navigate and understand, as well as incorporating elements of personalization and customization that can help meet the user’s social and esteem needs. By taking a holistic approach to design and considering the user’s needs at all levels of Maslow’s Hierarchy, designers can create products that are truly impactful and meaningful.

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