Dee Glazer

Design Ethics

  • Jun



    I was reading an interview with Tristan Harris about Ethics for Designers and it was extremely compelling. It involved the idea of an ethics for user experience designers in relation to how they manipulate the behavior of consumers. Specifically consumers of databases like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram. The main question he posed during the interview was about whether there should be a code of ethics for designers of programs like these. Such as the following:

    • Should there be a limit of time that we take from these users and direct towards time on the social platforms?
    • Should there be a hierarchy based on what type of content we have users spend time with?
      • E.g. - Useful information, challenging information, funny videos, silly quizzes, and other things we spend time doing on the internet.

    Tristan left his position at Google to start a nonprofit called Time Well Spentwhose aim is to "align technology with our humanity."

    "Time Well Spent aims to transform the race for attention by revealing how technology hijacks our minds, and to demonstrate how better incentives and design practices will create a world that helps us spend our time well." - Tristan Harris

    It is certainly interesting to think about how the developers of these programs were trained in how to persuede people. The goal for many of these programs is to increase user time on program. For example, like the way snapchat or twitter sends you notifications directly to your phone, so with just a swipe you are instantly back into the program, and most likely sucked into an information hole. 

    Read his most popular essay How Technology Hijacks People?s Minds ? from a Magician and Google?s Design Ethicist