By organizing information for discovery and use, we not only make information accessible but also provide the lens through which people will experience it. Designing information architectures involves making and imposing value choices, which positions the work and study of information architecture in the realm of ethics.
The information architecture community has considered ethics at the micro level, for instance by finding ways to do good in specific interactions. But to what extent have we thought about ethics in the context of our overall profession? When we design IAs do we, as practitioners, surrender our moral authority to someone else? Or do we follow a code?
Ethics and information architecture - The 6th Academics and Practitioners Roundtable at the Information Architecture Summit 2018
The 6th Academics and Practitioners
at the Information Architecture Summit 2018
Chicago, Illinois, USA
Sarah Rice (lead organizer)
What is the Academics & Practitioners Roundtable?
This years topic: Ethics & Information Architecture
GOOD IA GOOD
#reframeia on Twitter
Academics & Practitioners Roundtable
Held before the IA Summit each year, this pre-conference activity exists to
support the community in defining and supporting Information
Architecture as a profession.
ETHICS&IA 2018: Ethics & Information Architecture
Information architecture is not neutral.
Organizing information for discovery and use makes it accessible but also adds a lens through which people will
experience it. Practicing IA means making and imposing value choices, which positions the work and study of
information architecture in the realm of ethics.
The M3 Model
Ontological and Epistemological Notion of Being
Hobbes & Fenn
Wicked Ethics in Design
Towards a Feminist IA
Personal Ethics and Ethical Codes
Boundaries and Relationships in IA Practice
Everything that Rises must Converge
Your Ableism is Showing
Do no harm
Equal access to information
Gather a variety of points of view
Protect (and respect) difference
Helping some can help all
Give a damn (about accessibility)
Represent/consider the user in your IA
Take an action (don’t just think about it)
We exist in context. Embrace it.
“Improve the system”
Ethical problems are cognitive non-routine problems
We know what we see, hear, feel, etc. (sense).
Design above reproach
Views that don’t value the diversity of views should not count.
It’s important to provide social value, not just monetary worth.
Gather feedback (from users & stakeholders)
Solve a problem
Use tools to get your job done
Review what we make before we release it
Don’t wait til it’s perfect
“Make IA great again”
Free speech, free expression
Access to information
Human rights, Human dignity
Balance, “meet in the middle”
Agency (control own destiny)
Space for open/free thoughts
INFORMATIONPROBLEMS Frameworks for decisions are not named:
Ethical frameworks in metasystems are
derived from business discourse
IA is not part of developing PAPA thought
security and control is.
Understand the impact of information
The prioritization of public space online
Bridging practitioner and academic expertise
Who “owns” data
Must understand how information is created,
managed, used to engage on ethics
All models are wrong
Information is a process
How to bring ethical philosophy to practice
What counts as diverse?
Design and IA are considered a “privilege”
Empathy could be a problem
Assumptions that 2 people would have the
same response to a problem
Include vs. exclude
No desire to change the system
“We can’t raise the boats faster that we
can raise the water.”
We each have a different definition of
Visible and transparency
Responsibility distributed among actors
Who is an actor in the system
Don’t know the real problem
Don’t see the problem (don’t or can’t
acknowledge it exists)
Power perspective and lens selected
Conflict and how to resolve it
Hostile work environment
We have our own lenses
Who makes the decisions?
Is “tolerance” too toothless?
Only one point of view (mainstream)
Who has the power
“All built by men”
Complexity driven by tech
Emergent properties of complex human
and info systems
Systems are complex
“Good” vs. “Successful”
Goal is only making money and not
Not considering the user
Are dark patterns for good still ethically
Mentioning user perspective to check
off the “ethical box” in design process
Qualify users exclusion through biz
requirements to limit access for people
Access to technology
Access to information
Personal information not treated as
Accuracy - no attention to detail or
concern that information is accurate
Information is not treated as private
Ability to contest or disagree what info
about me that is out there
How do I know what data is out there
about me? When? For whom?
Reframing Information Architecture
Teaching Information Architecture
Developing a Language of Critique for Information
A Discussion of Masterworks--What Makes Good
Information Architecture Good
Mapping the Domain -- Navigating to a Discipline
Ethics and Information Architecture
See reframe-ia.org for more about the history of the
Reframing IA series of roundtables.
Track #reframeia on Twitter for another view.