In the past two years, I have explored the effects of unethical behaviour in user experience design (UXD).
Products such as mobile applications, websites, and software often exploit users, e.g., removing privacy rights or manipulating cognitive weaknesses, which highlights the need for discussion of ethics in the field.
In the process of my research, I have found that the concept of virtue ethics, which focuses on how a person’s character affects an ethical problem, is a useful theoretical and research tool. I have argued that the character of all the agents involved in the process of UXD affects the ethical outcome of products.
I want to present the results of my research in the form of a website that will also act as a platform for subject-matter experts to comment and collaborate.
Personally asked: Background to the project
How did you come up with the idea? What kind of impulse should the project have?
During my work as a UX and UI designer, I was confronted with clients that were acting in a way that was benefiting them (especially monetarily) instead of being beneficial to users. Therefore, I desired to improve the ethics of the field, and wanted to do more research in this direction. The result is this website, which I hope will open a more substantial discussion about ethics in the field.
What has been the biggest challenge in the implementation so far? And what was the solution?
The biggest challenge was to structure a website in a way that is user–friendly. The website has a lot of written content, and I was struggling to organize it so that the reading experience would be pleasant. I decided to design it in a way which makes most sense to me, based on the experience I have. As more users will read the content, I will invite them to give feedback for improvements.
What project experiences would you like to share?
I was struggling with how to write and organize the text, unsure if the content will be understandable, if the structure makes sense, and if anyone will like my ideas in the first place. For me it was important to shift my focus from 'what others will think' to 'what I think and what I want to express'.
Have you experienced support within your community?
Not so far. I will publish my project online by the end of September, and I will invite others to contribute to its improvement.
Klemen Trupej, Wien