In Part 1, I explained some of what I mean by “ethics” in design practice and why I think our communities of practice—communities of designers, technologists, and particularly my own communities, the UX and IA communities—need a more expansive, practical framework for applied ethics. You can skip that part if this makes sense to you already.
My next question is: In order to build systems of applied ethics in design and technology, what do we need to talk about?
To restate some ideas from Part 1, I think an agenda for applied design ethics would include at least these questions:
- How can design and technical practices account for a more expansive view of the benefits and consequences of technology in our world?
- How can practitioners act as change agents in their own organizations, communities, and nations?
- How can whole institutions engage in ethical technical practice?
- How can our professional communities (or communities of practice) work together to enact these approaches?
This quick & dirty concept diagram (below) outlines possible topics in a discussion of design ethics. It’s incomplete—so I’m looking for your feedback on this. What’s missing? What’s wrong? Do you think about this differently?
I intended to write a longer post with an elaboration of each box below, but since I’m strapped for time this week, I’ll have to save that for a future version. This is also a good time to mention the Slack group on technology and design ethics I’ve started with a group of fellow IA Summit attendees. While you’re welcome to comment directly on this article, I’d love to continue the conversation over there.