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The Ethics of Everyday Things

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Conversations about ethics and design often fall victim to two problems.

The first is the hand-waving problem. People talk about ethics in such a vague and aspirational ways that us practitioners have no path to changing the way we work. What use is design ethics if I can’t use it to affect my everyday decision-making?

The second is the “save the world” problem. The only worthwhile problems are those that have obviously good outcomes, such as improving health or education, reducing poverty or gender inequality. But there just aren’t enough of these kind of jobs to go around. What use is ethics if I can’t access the work required to put it into practice?

Designers are well familiar with using toolkits (patterns, heuristics, and so on). These are clear, actionable and flexible tools that help inform decision-making as we do our work. Why can’t it be the same for ethics?

We need to create tools that help designers exercise moral judgement in their day-to-day work (especially for those who don’t particularly care about ethics).

I believe that it’s possible to frame design ethics in a way that’s both actionable AND accessible, and that will allow all kinds of designers to bring ethical conversations and judgements into the work of everyday design.

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The Ethics of Everyday Things

  1. 1. @ The Ethics of Everyday Things Gabriel White @
  2. 2. @
  3. 3. @ User & business
  4. 4. @ Useful, usable, appealing
  5. 5. @
  6. 6. @ Make the world better
  7. 7. @ We have the tools
  8. 8. @ Our products are more pervasive
  9. 9. @ Disrupting democracy
  10. 10. @ Useful, usable, appealing?
  11. 11. @
  12. 12. @ We’re missing what’s right
  13. 13. @ 15%70% Lauri Lukka
  14. 14. @Jeff Veen via Future Ethics
  15. 15. @ Technology is not neutral
  16. 16. @ Bait and switch Confirshaming Disguised adsForced con6nuity Friend spam Hidden costs Price comparison preven6on Roach motel Sneak into basket darkpa6erns.org
  17. 17. @ Ethics as what
  18. 18. @ Ethics as how
  19. 19. @ An ethical lens for design
  20. 20. @ Most problems are not what problems
  21. 21. @ We have ethics in our practice
  22. 22. @ It’s hidden in pockets
  23. 23. @ No big theories
  24. 24. @ We are makers
  25. 25. @ Heuristics can help
  26. 26. @ Capacity for self-regulation & control Autonomy Growth Wellbeing Connection Equity Values Respect Sustainability
  27. 27. @ Better versions of ourselves Autonomy Growth Wellbeing Connection Equity Values Respect Sustainability
  28. 28. @ Positive physical & emotional states Autonomy Growth Wellbeing Connection Equity Values Respect Sustainability
  29. 29. @ Meaningful relationships Autonomy Growth Wellbeing Connection Equity Values Respect Sustainability
  30. 30. @ Increase social fairness Autonomy Growth Wellbeing Connection Equity Values Respect Sustainability
  31. 31. @ Support different viewpoints Autonomy Growth Wellbeing Connection Equity Values Respect Sustainability
  32. 32. @ Honesty, humanity, trust Autonomy Growth Wellbeing Connection Equity Values Respect Sustainability
  33. 33. @ Impact on the world Autonomy Growth Wellbeing Connection Equity Values Respect Sustainability
  34. 34. @ P2P lending
  35. 35. @ Responsibility for commitments Autonomy Growth Wellbeing Connection Equity Values Respect Sustainability
  36. 36. @ Better financial management Autonomy Growth Wellbeing Connection Equity Values Respect Sustainability
  37. 37. @ Avoid financial stress Autonomy Growth Wellbeing Connection Equity Values Respect Sustainability
  38. 38. @ Meaningful connections Autonomy Growth Wellbeing Connection Equity Values Respect Sustainability
  39. 39. @ Equal opportunity for success Autonomy Growth Wellbeing Connection Equity Values Respect Sustainability
  40. 40. @ Different money lending practices Autonomy Growth Wellbeing Connection Equity Values Respect Sustainability
  41. 41. @ Fair & clear agreements Autonomy Growth Wellbeing Connection Equity Values Respect Sustainability
  42. 42. @ Discourage wasteful projects Autonomy Growth Wellbeing Connection Equity Values Respect Sustainability
  43. 43. @ Travel service
  44. 44. @ Gain independence Autonomy Growth Wellbeing Connection Equity Values Respect Sustainability
  45. 45. @ Step beyond the familiar Autonomy Growth Wellbeing Connection Equity Values Respect Sustainability
  46. 46. @ Respond to difficult situations Autonomy Growth Wellbeing Connection Equity Values Respect Sustainability
  47. 47. @ Connect with travel party & others Autonomy Growth Wellbeing Connection Equity Values Respect Sustainability
  48. 48. @ Travellers with different capabilities Autonomy Growth Wellbeing Connection Equity Values Respect Sustainability
  49. 49. @ Provide cultural context Autonomy Growth Wellbeing Connection Equity Values Respect Sustainability
  50. 50. @ Lived reality of travel Autonomy Growth Wellbeing Connection Equity Values Respect Sustainability
  51. 51. @ Offer low-impact options Autonomy Growth Wellbeing Connection Equity Values Respect Sustainability
  52. 52. @ Not user or business needs
  53. 53. @ Not anti-commercial
  54. 54. @ Part of the conversation
  55. 55. @ Nobody’s going to buy this
  56. 56. @ So why heuristics?
  57. 57. @ No commitment
  58. 58. @ Adapt & change
  59. 59. @ Use continuously
  60. 60. @ Unifies themes
  61. 61. @ Shareable
  62. 62. @ smallsurfaces.com/ethics #ethics on ixda.slack.com @smallsurfaces
  63. 63. @ Thanks!

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