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"Damian gave a presentation, "The Hidden Requirements: Exploring Emotions with Placebos", which was different from any I had heard all day. It spoke to the softer skills and fundamental concepts that are below all the process, tool, project, and business issues related to this industry/any industry. It was inclusive of the social and emotional aspects of why we are creating technology in the first place. It was a breath of fresh air! Some items in these slides really spoke to me on both a professional and personal level."

-Julie Duffy, 2018 QA or the highway conference

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"As a developer this talk helped give me a better perspective on a users perception of software and how emotions have an important impact on all aspects of software design and requirements."

-Anonymous, 2018 Codemash conference

The Hidden Requirements


"Exploring Emotions with Placebos" - Support and actionable advice for the claim "the way we feel is important and should be considered".


Traditionally, products and services are focused on various functional and non-functional requirements (things the product or service should be or do). While this is important, there has been a lack of focus on emotional requirements (feelings that the the product or service should induce in its users). Why is this important?


Because the way we feel is important and should be considered!


A bold claim? Perhaps. And, as with any claim, it should be supported with evidence.  In this talk, I stress the importance of emotional requirements and support the claim by providing relevant facts, opinions, statistics, quotations, examples, hypotheticals, and more.  Once I’ve sufficiently supported the claim, I offer a few practical methods by which to gather, induce, and test emotional requirements. Finally, I use placebos as lens to view systems and gain insight into emotional requirements.

Join me for a thoughtful and thorough exploration of The Hidden Requirements!


Anyone involved in making a product or service.


~1 hour (as a keynote or breakout session), 2-8 hours (as an interactive workshop)

Key Takeaways

  • Why we make a product or service

  • What are (emotional) requirements

  • Ways to get, make, and measure emotional requirements


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