Judgment Call The Game

Difficulty Level:

Design Phase:

Method Overview

In Judgment Call, product teams identify their stakeholders, then write fictional product reviews from those stakeholders’ perspectives related to ethical principles. The reviews scaffold discussion in which specific ethical concerns are highlighted and solutions are considered.

Framework of ethics used



Method Intentions:

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Participants: Industry practitioners

Materials Needed: white board, dry erase markers, index cards, pens/penci


  1. Choose a scenario: there are two types of scenarios, a product scenario and a fictional scenario.
    Product scenario: To have the most impact, product teams should use their product as the scenario for gameplay.
    Fictional scenario: A fictional scenario is a scenario that a group selects for game-play that is not related to their current work. The scenario can be selected ahead of time by a facilitator or developed together as part of gameplay.
  2. Identify stakeholders: there are three categories of stakeholders, direct stakeholders, indirect stakeholders, excluded stakeholders.
    direct stakeholders: Interact directly with the technology and can include end-users, designers, engineers, hackers and administrators.
    indirect stakeholders: do not interact with the technology but are affected by its use advocacy groups, families of end users, regulators, and society at large.
    excluded stakeholders: those who cannot or do not use the technology. Reasons for exclusion can include physical, cogni-tive, social, or situational constraints.
    ** Stakeholder can refer to individuals (e.g., end-user, teenage user, parent of teenage user) or groups (e.g., watchdog organizations, elders, legislators).
  3. Draw a hand
    Each player receives one wild card per game to play during any round.
    For each round, each player draws one rating card, one stake-holder card, and one ethical principle card and uses these three cards to write a product review.
  4. Write a review
    The combination of the rating card, stakeholder card, and ethical principle card frame the product reviews you write in each round. The rating card indicates the number of stars you give the review. For example, if you draw a 1 star rating card, you would write a negative review, focusing on features the stakeholder would dislike about the technology.

Stephanie Ballard, Karen M Chappell, Kristen Kennedy: Judgment Call the Game: Using Value Sensitive Design and Design Fiction to Surface Ethical Concerns Related to Technology. In: Proceedings of the 2019 on Designing Interactive Systems Conference, pp. 421–433, Ässociation for Computing Machinery", San Diego, CA, USA, 2019, ISBN: 9781450358507.

Further Reading

Visit http://houseofmethods.com/pdf/microsoft-judgment-call.pdf for more detailed instruction about the method.

Stephanie Ballard, Karen M Chappell, and Kristen Kennedy. 2019. Judgment Call the Game: Using Value Sensitive Design and Design Fiction to Surface Ethical Concerns Related to Technology. In Proceedings of the 2019 on Designing Interactive Systems Conference (San Diego, CA, USA) (DIS ’19). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 421–433. https://doi.org/10.1145/3322276.3323697