Ethical Design: The Practical Getting-Started Guide
By now, most people working in tech know and feel the deep concerns related to surveillance capitalism fostered and upheld by the tech giants. We understand that the root of the problem lies within the business model of capitalising and monetising user data. Stories of how people are being exploited surface on a daily basis, like the recent story about how Instagram withholds like notifications to certain users, with the purpose of increasing the rate of which they open the app. In the same story, The Globe and Mail describe how former high level employees of Facebook are growing a conscience and tell horrifying stories about how features are meticulously being built to exploit human behavior and make us addicts of social media.
User Research & Psychology
Your team needs to make user research a habit
As I was reading John Maeda’s 2018 Design In Tech report (a must read), I was blown away by a quote about halfway through: “Surprisingly very few companies conduct qualitative user research. Early stage startups surveyed by Albert Lee/Dayna Grayson: 12%, Mid-stage: 32%, Late-stage: 46%.” Twelve percent! And less than half of all companies! It’s an unfortunate fact, since qualitative research—just plain talking to customers and potential customers in a structured way—may be the most important thing an early- or mid-stage company can do to influence their success.
A Primer to Web Accessibility for Designers
To address the concern for accessible website design, the World Wide Web Consortium developed a series of accessibility standards. This document, known as the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, (WCAG) breaks down accessibility into 4 main principles. To understand these principles, ask yourself a series of questions when designing: Perceivable: Can I consume content on my site in different ways? (Having closed captions for a video, for example) Operable: Can the site function without confusion and without the use of a mouse or complex interactions? Understandable: Can a user understand how the user interface of the site functions and the information on the site? Robust: Can different assistive devices (screen readers, for example) understand the website?
A Conceptual Framework for Relational Cognition
As you are reading this, how many times will you check your phone for a text, an email, a shared link, or photo? Some of these moments of attention will be based on alerts, but how many are habitual, simply checking the device for potential updates? Our minds are continually looking to continue earlier conversations or to start new ones. We have sometimes dozens of ongoing conversations, not to mention the long list of open tabs and draft emails containing trains of thought we intend to follow up on. We are living in a continual shift of focus, and this article aims to provide some understanding on how our minds are adapting to constant changes in train of thought.
Human Decision Making
The Principle of Commitment and Behavioral Consistency
Getting users to make a small commitment and follow up on it can increase engagement with content. In this article we discuss the last principle in this list — that of commitment and consistency. Definition: Behavioral consistency refers to people’s tendency to behave in a manner that matches their past decisions or behaviors. Behavioral consistency is a judgment heuristic to which we default in order to ease decision making: it is easier to make one decision, and stay consistent to it, than it is to make a new decision every single time we are presented with a problem.
Texting is how we talk now. We talk by tapping tiny messages on touchscreens—we message using SMS via mobile data networks, or through apps like Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp. Prepare for leadership roles at the intersection of design and technology in Northwestern’s online MS in Information Design & Strategy program. In 2015, the Pew Research Center found that 64% of American adults owned a smartphone of some kind, up from 35% in 2011. We still refer to these personal, pocket-sized computers as phones, but “Phone” is now just one of many communication apps we neglect in favor of texting. Texting is the most widely used mobile data service in America. And in the wider world, four billion people have mobile phones, so 4 billion people have access to SMS or other messaging apps. For some, dictating messages into a wristwatch offers an appealing alternative to placing a call.