In an era of ubiquitous digital interfaces, technology and design practitioners must engage in a range of ethical dilemmas surrounding the use of persuasive methods and how to balance shareholder and end-user needs. Practitioners who design these products often unknowingly use obstructive and “dark” design patterns that heighten unethical practices.
With the growing digital economy, it is important to better understand these practices and identify opportunities for intervention. How do practitioners engage with ethics? How can designers design more responsibly? Building on these provocations, we invite participants to share their stories and dilemmas, co-creating methods to use in their future practice to design ethical digital products.
We are researchers in the UX Pedagogy and Practice Lab, the research lab of Dr. Colin M. Gray at Purdue University. You can find out more about our lab at https://uxp2.com.
We have designed this workshop for you and your team to co-create an effective action plan for dealing with ethical issues in your workplace. We encourage you to reflect back on your day-to-day work practices for issues you may want to tackle with your action plan throughout this workshop.
This workshop contains five stages, and each stage can be conducted separately but in sequence throughout a period of time that best fit your and your team’s schedule.
The five stages and their purposes are
- Preparation Stage: reflect and identify ethical dilemmas you or your team has faced at work
- Shop: browse and chose existing ethics-focused building blocks
- DIY Station: create action plans using chosen building blocks to address ethical issues
- Test Drive: evaluate the transferability and scalability of your action plans
- Gallery Walk: share and reflect
Estimated Time: 3 hours in total
Example Context of Use: Design Review Meetings, Weekly Team Huddles, Team Training Days, Lunch and Learn, and more… Get creative!
Workshop Reviews from Past Participants
Estimated Time: 20 minutes
The prep stage aims to help you identify ethical dilemmas you have encountered at work, and guide you to generate a problem statement for the ethical dilemma that you will focus on addressing in this workshop
Step 1: Reflect on your ethical dilemma
- Write down as many ethical dilemmas as you could think of on the Ethical Dilemma Card
Step 2: Create your problem card
- Select one of the ethical dilemmas to focus on, and transfer it to the first block on the Problem Card
- Select a context or place where the issue might arise (eg. product review sessions, client meetings, individual work time, group work sessions, office, remote work etc..)
- Fill out the rest of the Problem Card using new sticky notes
Step 3: Share with your teams and get feedback on the problem cards
Step 4: Iterate problem cards
- Incorporate team members’ feedback to tighten the framing of your problem card
Estimated time: 10 minutes
The shop contains 40 component cards, and method blocks are the deconstructed pieces of existing ethics-focused methods and tools that our lab has collected. (Link to more background work). We have categorized the component cards based on their ethical affordances and the actions each card supports.
- Ethical affordance: 1) Reimagining your design space, 2) Identifying ways to make your practice more ethically focused, 3) Deciding which values are relevant
- Supporting Actions: 1) Identifying, 2) Building Alignment, 3) Creating, 4) Evaluating
Notes: the empty cards are designed for you to add in any other resources from your organization or in your personal practice that can also assist you in assembling your action plan
- Explore all the blocks in the shop
- Pick as many method blocks as you feel helpful for later use
Estimated time: 30 minutes
Materials: Large sheets of canvas, DIY resource toolkit, Pen, Gluesticks, Sticky Notes,
The DIY station is where you will incorporate all the method blocks into creating an action plan of yours to address the ethical dilemma you chose to focus on. An action plan contains guiding steps for you to act upon in ethically complex situations. This action plan should be personal, practical, and actionable to you. It is for you to use to support your ethical awareness and potential for action in your area of practice.
- The plan is for you and there’s no right or wrong way to build it, sketching, mapping, linking, pasting, anything is encouraged! Just have fun and let your intuition guide you!
Note: We have provided a DIY resource toolkit for you to use as building blocks. The resource toolkit contains
- Icons representing individuals who you might involve in your action plan
- Verbs as ways you can connect different pieces of your action plan
- Additional method blocks that you can add to your action plan
- Guiding questions for you to consider
- How would you use the building blocks that you selected to address your problem?
- How could you reconstruct or change the blocks to help assist you?
- Example action plans for you to peek at
Estimated time: 30 minutes
Materials: Context Card, Sticky Notes, and Pens
Tips: we recommend conducting test driving your action plans with a new partner or in a new group to get fresh perspectives
The goal of the test drive is to evaluate the transferability and scalability of your action plan in a future context.
Step 1: Envision Future Changes
- Revisit your problem card
- Use the context card to envision future changes and anticipated issues with your current problem context.
- Fill out the context card
Step 2: Apply Your Action Plan in the Future Content
- Work in groups to discuss how your action plans might work, fail, or need to be adapted in the new context
- Feel free to use colored sticky notes to mark “pass”, “fail” and “to improve” on your action plan
Step 3: Iterate Your Action Plan
Congratulations! You have made your first ethics-focused action plan for you to try out at work. As a group, feel free to share with each other what you have created, such as the problem context you chose, your process of creating your final action plan, and how it helps to address the problem you have identified.
- What did you learn from your experience of creating your action plan?
- What are some things you wish you had time to do but couldn’t?
- What did you learn about your own design practices?
- Any feedback you’d like to share with us about this workshop?