Today’s Leading Voices in Design Thinking Ethics

If you are a product designer, you won’t see the terms “design ethics” or “ethicist” very often. Unlike the world of design thinking, this would be completely different if you worked in a hospital. For example, there would be a team of ethicists to answer questions about complex practices in the world of medicine.

Product designers face many big-time decisions in the same fashion as doctors. However, there isn’t an official role for an ethicist within the world of product. That said, there are many product experts who focus on design ethics. Here are some views on the subject:

Tristan Harris (The Center for Humane Technology)

Time Well Spent. Tristan believes that effective design should attract your attention and hold onto it. Whether it’s 15 minutes or 3 hours of active usage, Tristan focuses on designing worthwhile experiences for every user.

Mike Monteiro (Mule Design)

Design With Intent. Mike holds that negative interactions with products are not caused by people who do bad things. Instead, Mike believes that designers fail to think deeply about the effects of what they are creating. The importance of designing with intent is to fully understand the impact of your product. In addition, a product needs to be tested in positive and negative scenarios.

Artefact (Digital Design)

Tarot of Tech. This set of 12 cards features challenging themes and ethical questions to consider before your design is launched. For example, the “Big Bad Wolf” theme asks what would happen if your product broke under extreme activity. In addition, this includes a bad actor using your product outside of its main use cases.

These views are just a small sampling of opinions about design ethics. For future reading, I recommend searching online for other thoughts on this topic.

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About the speaker
Matt Conway Google, Design Manager, Google Cloud Member

Matt Conway is a Design Manager at Google, leading the user experience design team for Google Cloud. In addition, Matt has developed UX designs for many leading tech companies over the past two decades - including Microsoft, Expedia and Frog.

About the host
Anne Retterer Mindspand, CEO / Founder

Anne Retterer is the Founder and CEO of Mindspand - an online community that enables organizations to list course offerings and provide access to services for local customers. Prior to starting Mindspand, Anne managed the product portfolio at Expedia and established an investment fund for tech companies in Chile with Hambrecht & Quest (now JPMorgan Chase & Co.). Anne holds an MBA from UC Davis and currently lives in Seattle.

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