Taking Responsibility for the Things We Unleash Into the World - IoT Meetup 2013 - Sharon Lindberg & Linda Mattsson
Taking responsibility for
the things we unleash
into the world
talk at iot meetup december 2013
DAYTONA COMMUNICATION AB
Riddargatan 17D, 114 57 Stockholm, Sweden
Phone +46 8 579 397 50, Fax +46 8 579 397 55
deceptive. Design should be supportive.
Theoretically, the two are separated by intention.
But in practise, the forces are converging. Fundamentally, it’s about taking
for the things we unleash into the world.”
A lot has been written lately about how evil design
patterns are used more often (darkpatterns.org)
LG Smart TV – Button That
Doesn’t Do Anything
Transmits details about what
you’re watching and names of
private media files stored on
removable USB volumes.
If you look closely there is an opt
out button – but that button does
not do anything. Even though the
user opts out the TV still transmits
the information, so that LG can
sell target advertising ...
Lensway – Tricks You To Participate in Marketing Surveys
To be able to shop you need to tick the checkbox for terms and
agreements. Hidden in that text is a part about agreeing to
participate in marketing surveys. This is not what the user
expects to find in a terms and agreement text, so most people
would surely not even notice this.
E-reader Letto – Buy From One Store Only, No More
Easy to buy books from Adlibris, but not from anywhere else. Makes
you more or less tied to the one store.
Also: you can no longer borrow books within your own family if you
have different devices.
Netflix – Trick for Continuity
Ask for you billing info when signing up for free trial.
You need to remember to cancel in time, or they will
Isn’t this just
Nah, probably not.
An interface can be frustrating or hard to use
without being manipulative.
Visibility of system status
rather than recall
system and the real
efficiency of use
Help users recognize,
diagnose, and recover
Bad usability: Update and
Cancel Buttons too close
No systems status
So what about persuasion techniques like
social proof? Or scarcity? Good or evil?
When you design something you always influence
the user. Some things you make bigger
more visible so other things end up
You also put a lot of effort into making some things easy to
understand which means other things have to become more
difficult, to make room for the most important features.
In design you need to
between simplicity and to fit everything important in.
Beddit – Measures How You Sleep
Does measuring your sleep really
help? Doesn’t it just make you more
FitBits – Measures How You Move
Does it work? Do you get healthier in a good
way? And is it okay to use manipulative
techniques to make people work out more?
In this big trend of
we need to think about
what we measure
and how it will
can be used for deception, and just because deception
can be used to do bad things doesn’t mean that
are necessarily bad in their own right.”
The Fake Bus Stop –
Manipulative And Good?
A nursing home for Alzheimer
patients. Problem: Alzheimer
patients have a tendency to run
away, so they get locked up and
drugged at many nursing homes.
New solution: deceive the patient!
Fake bus stop where the runaways
can wait for the bus “home”. After
waiting for a while, the patient
calms down, the caretaker can try to
coax the patient back in ...
Clearly manipulative – but with a
Monster Go Away Spray –
Manipulative And Good?
Parents with kids afraid of
monsters can get this
lavender scented spray to
chase away monsters. You
trick the kids, but for a good
How should we think about this? Is it OK
to manipulate and deceive if you
have a good purpose? Can you even be
sure you have a good purpose?
Apple Store – Persuasive But Not Deceitful
They present something I didn’t ask for, but probably
would like. Easy to skip. Default set to none (no sneaking
Most innovators and designers have good intentions and want
to do good – to create a better world and solve problems. The
time has come to make a decision about the future: What type of
design should we do?
When money is involved people will try to make more money in
doubtful ways. Focus can easily shift from making useful
products to increasing conversion rates, lower production costs
and producing and inventing as fast as possible.
When we focus on numbers (such as conversion rates) and want
to satisfy our stakeholders we can fall for quick manipulative
solutions by mistake, especially when the numbers show that
it’s the right way to go.
The stress of having to produce as quickly as possible can give
you tunnel vision and reduced empathy. That can make you
forget who the users really are and that your product will
actually manipulate the people who use it.
To stay an honorable field, we must ask
evil we can be
before it’s gone too far – so we don’t fall
for those easy quick manipulative fixes,
at least not by mistake.
What’s wrong with
Social media: trick your customers and they will tell
all of their friends – fast!
Employer branding: nobody, who has the choice,
want to work for an evil company.
Individual level: most of us feel like crap when we lie
or are dishonest. Most of us want to add value through
our work, and want to feel proud of what we do.
Good design is persuasive per se, but there’s a difference
between persuasion and manipulation. Is it okay
to manipulate when it’s for people’s own good?
It’s up to you, you need to think about what’s okay
and what’s not and how you want to use your knowledge.
useful? Is it understandable? Is it ethical?
Ask yourself: is your design
Is my design ethical?
How can we answer that question?
If something feels bad, that’s an indicator
something’s not right.
personal opinion matters!
We’ve learned to talk about money and metrics,
we can learn to talk about
Bring it to the agenda!
Remember: what you unleash into this world has
implications for other people and you need
You can choose to deceive others or to help them.
Use your superpowers to do good!
LG Smart TV: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:LG_smart_TV.jpg
Jakob Nielsen: http://www.nngroup.com/people-jakob-nielsen-photos/
Old man: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Old_man_on_a_bench,_Santiago.jpg
Good & evil sheep: http://s899.photobucket.com/user/zodmafa/media/goodvsevilsheepDS.jpg.html