Framework for Human Connection

This framework was developed with support from  the Catalyst .

Small, meaningful moments of connection have a huge impact upon our mental and physical wellbeing, as well the way we perform at work and the way we behave towards each other. At Deepr, our work is to understand the composition of these moments, so that we can design and embed them in services and organisations.


From research and development with 60+ organisations as part of Catalyst, we’ve defined Five Conditions, Principles and Methods that help to create human connection in digital services. Now we’re sharing them with you.

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The resources are still in ‘alpha’, which means there’s lots more to learn about how each works best. For example, many of the methods are most clearly applied to services delivered over phone and video calls, but there is plenty for those designing more static web tools too.


For those of you who would like to follow our design process, you can get started with our Simple Steps to Design Human Connection into Digital Services.

Get in touch

Whether your experience is good or there’s room for improvement, we’d love to know how you get on with applying these tools. Please drop us a line and we’ll share some more human connection goodies as a ‘thank you’.


The Five Conditions

Having researched and tested with 60+ organisations, we’ve found the ingredients for human connection fall into these Five Conditions. When we design solutions that foster these between people, services work better, more gets done and people feel good.

01   Presence

So that people are engaged and attentive

So much of how we interact is automatic — but automatic behaviours don’t foster connection.

Maintaining people’s attention when there’s an opportunity for connection is essential.

One way is to explore ways to keep interactions fresh and new.

02   Equality

03   Accountability

04   Autonomy

05   Whole self



Before jumping in with The Five Conditions and our Methods for human connection take a minute to read through the principles that guide us in this work. We’ve developed these through research and experience. Let them guide you too.

1. Reduce separation

Reducing separation between us is the gateway to human connection.


Human connection leads to relational wellbeing. This principle governs all others. It can act as shorthand for you as you work to develop digital services with high opportunities for human connection. When considering each element of your service ask, ‘Will this bring us closer together or further apart?’.

2. Design for the Five Conditions

3. Meet people where they are

4. Go fast - Go slow

5. Be intentional and open

6. Be invitational

7. 'Be' human connection as you 'do' human connection

8. Embrace new rituals of human connection

9. Stay safe

10. Let the magic happen


Here are 40 methods for achieving the Five Conditions in your service or working culture. Use them as they are or use them as inspiration. How can you weave more human connection into what you do?

Getting started

This short guide is a version of our own design process that will enable you to build
more opportunities for human connection into digital services.

We've broken our approach down into 6 simple steps, and included some useful, practical tools, to make it really easy for you to follow.


With thanks

We developed this Framework as part of The Catalyst and in collaboration with Hospice Hope, Grapevine and  The Children’s Society .

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