Tags: ethical

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Wednesday, March 31st, 2021

Design as (un)ethical illusion

Many, if not all, of our world’s most wicked problems are rooted in the excessive hiding of complexity behind illusions of simplicity—the relentless shielding of messy details in favor of easy-to-use interfaces.

Seams.

But there’s always a tradeoff between complexity, truth, and control. The more details are hidden, the harder it is to understand how the system actually works. (And the harder it is to control). The map becomes less and less representative of the territory. We often trade completeness and control for simplicity. We’d rather have a map that’s easy to navigate than a map that shows us every single detail about the territory. We’d rather have a simple user interface than an infinitely flexible one that exposes a bunch of switches and settings. We don’t want to have to think too hard. We just want to get where we’re going.

Seamful and seamless design are reframed here as ethical and deceptive design:

Ethical design is like a glove. It obscures the underlying structure (i.e. your hand) but preserves some truth about its shape and how it works. Deceptive design is like a mitten. It obscures the underlying structure and also hides a lot about its shape and how it works.

Friday, May 31st, 2019

W3C TAG Ethical Web Principles

  • There is one web
  • The web should not cause harm to society
  • The web must support healthy community and debate
  • The web is for all people
  • Security and privacy are essential
  • The web must enable freedom of expression
  • The web must make it possible for people to verify the information they see
  • The web must enhance individuals’ control and power
  • The web must be an environmentally sustainable platform
  • The web is transparent
  • The web is multi-browser, multi-OS and multi-device
  • People should be able to render web content as they want

Wednesday, July 6th, 2016

Building Web Applications that Work Everywhere

The second book in Adam Scott’s series on ethical web development is a nice quick read, covering URL design, Service Workers, and performance.