Design is the act of Playing God.Products intervene in our daily life.They change outcomes. So it is upon us to create things that have a positive impact on the world.We have to decide what positive impact really means. Ethics is a key feature in answering this.Whether our design decision are having the effects that we want them to have or are they whilst solving the designated problem creating some new ones? What are the values embedded in our design ? What vision of the good life our design conveys? What outcome are we choosing to prevail?
So how do we go about it ? My values are different from yours , what I consider moral ,you might consider immoral. Ethics are the choices we make,the difficult decision we have to live with .There are no clear answers and no immediate gratification or consequences.There is no objective truth. So where is the line between black and white and who decides it ? Or is It essentially shades of grey ? Are there no clear boundaries ? And how would we know if we see them ?
The only that is clear as day in all this moral ambiguity is that we have to start thinking and more importantly start asking the right questions. Because the truth of the matter lies in your intent. Ignorance is one of the greatest sins. So decide what are your intentions?
“Products are vivid arguments of how we should live our lives.”
Our products impact hundreds , thousands of users. This scale brings diversity .But we have a duty to honor each individual story.Now this seems an impossible task, but somehow we have to do it .When we play in the arenas of god ,we have the responsibility of one. If you are knowingly creating a product that is not accessible then you are essentially contributing towards social repression. Here comes in ,Accessibility : about who is worth our effort .It’s a key issue of social justice.Design should be inclusive and compassionate and about doing what is right.
The one who call it a hunch when it is a hunch , who say the things the way they are , honestly .Better designer are categorical. So when you are certain ,when you are convinced that what you are doing is the right approach,you have more freedom.
All design is persuasive.When you are putting a design out in the world ,you are essentially influencing them. But ethical persuasion is in the interest of users as well as yours. Persuasion is not exploiting human nature for your own benefit .So when users buy a product they buy a better versions of themselves , a better experience.
Gross Domestic Product (GDP) vs Gross happiness Index (GHI) .GDP is a good measure for economic activity but it doesn’t necessarily mean the welfare of the people.We should’nt be caught up in the tangible factors.
Dark Patterns are designs that are deliberately made to be disadvantageous to the user and advantageous for us.Like the Facebook ,it is addictive and productive time-consuming. One other example is a chore app which allows parents to award badges and points to their kids on succesful completion of chores .This creates negative association in the mind of the child regarding work and benefits , they stop doing things for self growth We should keep in mind ,whatever we are creating is not harmful in the long run.
Disruption is the cut of the middle men .It might wear the face of progress but in reality it creates shrinking market ,shrinking wages , for just a little convenience for the rich .Stop and consider the human impact that you are having .Is the technology worth ,the livelihood ,it is threatening?
Sustainable Design is one of the most significant point for future designers . Product and it’s development , eventual effect it causes ,the strains on our already dying environment. We have to design for the next fifty years. Is the thing you are building going to lasts, so that manufacturing cycle comes less frequently in use.
Universalise your thoughts in the context of wider society .Ask yourself What if everyone did what I am about to do ? If my actions were commonplace will the world be better or worse ?How much happiness it gives to everyone involved.
Put your name on something ,Are your proud of the decision you made ? How much of your work will you actually put your name to ? Would you be comfortable in explaining your decision to your children ?
So again I am emphasizing how important it is to think bigger .Not only about the problem you are solving,but the also problems you might create. Be uncertain of your conduct ,examine your action, believe you are never responsible enough. Understand the ethical decision and pause ,think about what it really means and ask yourself .What are the implications of this ?How can I mitigate the damage that I have caused? Is this the right course of action?