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Designing out evil


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A look at two frameworks; one to help designers design ethical outcomes, and the other to grow an ethical design philosophy within organisations.

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Designing out evil

  1. 1. DESIGNING OUT EVIL how designers can create a better world
  2. 2. evil bobs and weaves… <ul><li>Human Universals </li></ul><ul><li>Colour white </li></ul><ul><li>Pronouns </li></ul><ul><li>Dreams </li></ul><ul><li>Levers </li></ul><ul><li>Right and wrong are distinguished </li></ul><ul><li>Incest and rape are proscribed </li></ul><ul><li>Some forms of violence are prohibited </li></ul>Diagnosing evil can be tricky Curious social system design features in the last 150 years Abandoning grandma in the icy wastes of Greenland: was sometimes ok Hitting people’s heads with a sharpened hardwood paddle: sometimes ok Directly or indirectly supporting the cage-hen eggs industry: sometimes ok
  3. 3. what’s your moral compass? Absolutism There are a bunch of rules. Follow them, and you’re all good. Utilitarianism Greatest happiness for the greatest number. Relativism There are no absolute rights and wrongs – good and bad depend on context. <ul><li>A very humanist approach: </li></ul><ul><li>Act in the best interest of everyone </li></ul><ul><li>Do no harm and if possible provide benefits </li></ul><ul><li>Provide all resultant data </li></ul><ul><li>(UPA) </li></ul>
  4. 4. what is this evil? Packaging design: 0.6% - 25%? Research: New chemical recipes? Interaction design: Wrappings? 3.3cm Lambeth, Greater London $420M 1,200+ doctors
  5. 5. Evaluating evilness of a design Perceptible Imperceptible Harmful Beneficial Holistically evaluating of design outcomes OVERTLY GOOD SNEAKY BAD OVERTLY BAD SNEAKY GOOD TRIPLE BOTTOM LINE THINKING: Planet Profit People actual perceived Teh healthy!!1
  6. 6. 5 Evaluating evilness of organisation KNOWS (enough to act) CARES (enough to act) well- meaning brutish good evil  Actively concerned for the user? Holistically evaluating the organisation  Unintended user consequences?  Favouring the org over the user to the harm of the user?  Disinterested in user consequences?
  7. 7. This stuff is hard… It’s usually less like this… EVIL is incremental and more like this…
  8. 8. 5 knowing up KNOWS (enough to act) CARES (enough to act) well- meaning brutish good evil Shifting people along the x (knows) axis <ul><li>U s e r evaluation </li></ul><ul><li>E t h n o g r a p hy </li></ul><ul><li>Persona development </li></ul><ul><li>Holistic user analysis </li></ul><ul><li>Visibility pathways </li></ul>
  9. 9. 5 caring up KNOWS (enough to act) CARES (enough to act) well- meaning brutish good evil Shifting people along the y (cares) axis <ul><li>Executives as observers </li></ul><ul><li>Wetware, not dryware: enriched storytelling </li></ul><ul><li>Moral capital as a differentiator </li></ul><ul><li>Champion-finding: the bicycle-down effect </li></ul><ul><li>Modelling alternatives as feasible </li></ul><ul><li>Pick the strategic ( = huge) battles </li></ul>
  10. 10. Design can choose to engage or not. It disgusted me to see that they were prepared to throw experts in performance and usability at a project that would, if successful, increase the opportunity for people to lose their money . ( Part of this strategy needs to concern itself with profiling target users , selecting the online gambling activities that will maximise revenue generation and designing an interactive experience that is usable and compelling to the target groups. The aim is to satisfy the key motives driving the user’s gambling behaviour and to stimulate return visits . (another usability firm) - WHAT WOULD YOU DO? - IS THIS A PLACE YOU CAN AFFECT A CHANGE? - DOES THE SCOPE OF YOUR ENGAGEMENT ENABLE GOODNESS? Online gambling [“… I’ve said no in the past and it felt GOOD.” (scenariogirl again) ] Compared to… <ul><li>Eg: </li></ul><ul><li>- Lower socio-economic groups </li></ul><ul><li>Widows </li></ul><ul><li>Young men </li></ul><ul><li>Older people </li></ul>$15.4B offline – 2005/06 - Continuity - Emotional engineering (excitement, relaxation, challenge) - Money, thrill, fun, stimuli/spontenaiety - Only passing mention of “plungers”, no mention of “addiction” - Elsewhere: addiction as an opportunity, but a regulation risk KNOW: YEP CARE: NOPE
  11. 11. The challenge of awareness The Well-Known and Ubiquitous Council Of Ethical Design (that doesn’t exist) Certifies that ____________________________________ IS NOT EVIL Acme Products and Services Ltd Knows and Cares Certification ISO1234 Sort of like this for interactions
  12. 12. One last human universal: empathy (AND DESIGNERS CAN ENABLE THIS)
  13. 13. Questions?