Update on World IxDD

In recognition of World Interaction Design Day 2019, IxDA Sydney hosted an event where we explored the theme of trust and responsibility. We believe that everyone should have a voice on this important topic, and we wanted everyone’s voice to be heard.
The session started with some stage setting by Susan Wolfe on good, the bad, and the ugly of products and services unleashed on the world. With that backdrop, in small groups, we explored themes around the ethics of our practices as designers, the organisations that we work with and for, and the solutions that we create. Insights arising from these discussions were reported back to the broader audience, and guided a panel discussion facilitated by Renato Feijó and Susan with four professionals for whom designing for trust and responsibility is paramount:

Bronwyn van der Merwe – General Manager, Asia Pacific at Fjord
Derek Wood – Founder & Director, Septa
Tarra van Amerongen – Managing Director, ustwo
Tracy Collier – Head of Strategy and Programs, Thriving Communities Partnership

The event concluded by reflecting on the best practice principles that we explored and prioritising the topics explored. The top five topics from the three themes follow.
Ethics of the organisations
• Alignment of values from the leadership
• Transparency in how businesses remain viable while reducing environmental impact
• Using “we do good” rhetoric, but not actually doing it
• Exploiting data / spreading misinformation
• Policy making too slow to solve actual problem

Ethics of our practices as designers
• Look at how we make impacts the overall human experience
• As designers we should highlight ethical risks, design in road bumps to allow reflection time
• Collaboration and inclusivity in design practices (and being able to scale it)
• Aligning value of design to business values
• What audit process can we integrate into our processes to ensure dark patterns / features are not created (QA for evil/KPIs that are baked in)

Ethics of our solutions
• Balancing business needs with ethical design considerations /
• Doing “guerilla sustainability” (measuring impact until you have a strong case)
• Redefining metrics for what success is and whose success it could be (Be a squeaky wheel: Keep bringing it up to clients, stakeholders)
• Asking how these solutions change the way we live (doing the right thing above all else)
• Need to connect hearts and minds to see potential possibilities

These high priority issues provide guidance for organising future for IxDA Sydney events. It is our ultimate goal to draft of our own local “ethical design manifesto” that we can make available to our community.