THE PRINCIPLES OF ETHICAL DESIGN

reCreative Good Logo, Ethical Technology

Ethics and Design is a topic growing in popularity over the last ten years or so. The principles of ethical design are becoming more talked about as they become more necessary to implement. With so many web products causing harm and anguish, it’s vitally important that we think ethically about what we’re designing, both online and off.

Through reCreative Good we are working toward the creation of a framework for ourselves, and other agencies like us, to create ethical products that will ensure a more equitable future between business and consumer.

In our last post, we discussed what reCreative Good is and who we’re helping. Now we want to focus on the principles of ethical design and how we plan to use them to prove our hypothesis, that non-targeted advertising can be just as, if not more, effective than micro-targeting.

Each week we’ll post information regarding our ethical principles and provide sources where others have focused on these principles. That does not mean that these are hard and fast rules, but they are the ethics that we plan to live by in our new venture.

Our Principles of Ethical Design

Respect • Usability • Accessibility • Inclusion • Attention

 

To start, here are some kickass articles others have written on their principles of design:

99designs, The Principles of ethical design (and how to use them)

Many of the principles for ethical design revolve around respect for human rights, effort and experience, and are even inspired by the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights. The “Ethical Hierarchy of Needs” pyramid created by Aral Balkan and Laura Kalbag illustrates the core of ethical design and how each layer of the pyramid rests and depends on the layer beneath it to ensure that the design is ethical.

Ethics For Designers

Design has a huge influence on how people behave and live their lives. As designers, we are trained to solve problems and make people’s lives better, but rarely do we consider what ‘better’ actually is. It is important to understand that what we design is not neutral. In fact design is an inherently ethical activity. That’s why I believe designers should understand ethics and learn to incorporate it in your design work. And for that, you’re in the right place. Check out the toolkit for practical resources for approaching design from an ethics perspective.

Smash Magazine, Ethical Design, the practical getting started guide

As designers and developers, we have an obligation to build experiences that are better than the norm. This article explains how unethical design happens, and how to do ethical design through a set of best practices.

Keep in mind that some of these were written years ago, and as well as know, tech moves at the speed of lightning so take these with a grain of salt.

 

NEXT UP: RESPECTING HUMAN NATURE

Next week we will discuss our first principle of ethical design, respecting human nature. How did we come to choose human nature as one of our principles? Through our work in the Foundations for Humane Technology course, a free online course given by The Center for Humane Technology.

What is human nature?

hu·man na·ture
/ˈ(h)yo͞omən ˈnāCHər/
  1. the general psychological characteristics, feelings, and behavioral traits of humankind, regarded as shared by all humans.