Role of ethics and morality for a designer | by Rahul Garhwal | Oct, 2021

Rahul Garhwal
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Ever wonder if you search for something to buy or you go to some store you start getting ads on your social media feeds, these are the things that prove that everything we do online is been watched, is been tracked, and is being measured. Popular social media apps like Google, Facebook and Snapchat are designed in a way to keep users engaged, and the more they can increase engagement, the more advertisers they get and in return, they get increased growth and profits.

Technology is changing every second in today’s time and new digital products are also coming, and I feel that these tools are very useful in today’s time we can order food at one tap, we can connect to anyone from anywhere in the world, but wait!! Are we as designers aware of the consequences? Some of the things I got to know after watching the mind-boggling documentary “The social Dilemma” and it got me thinking are we making products for the users or the users are getting manipulated with these tools or? What impact does this product have on society, climate, and individuals’ mental health?

The design process begins with any product keeping in mind the functionality or solving the user’s problem. Design improves the overall experience of the users; the designer creates a great and effortless experience for the users. Ethical design plays a big part in designing an overall great user experience as a designer I feel that a designer job is a lot more than just creating pretty screens, solving user’s problems by creating a product but also to assess the impact it will have on millions of humans with our designs. We have — witnessed many negative impacts on users in recent times like:
– The spread of fake news increased, which led to violence.
– Mental health and addiction problems in younger generations.
As these popular social media companies like Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat apply design intentionally to persuade users to change their behaviour and it keeps the users hooked to these apps and boom, your attention has been sold!
I feel morally it is wrong to intentionally use these unethical design tactics, but we also know that money and growth is the sole purpose these companies are working for and designers have no other choice but to go for what business demands.

“Nothing vast enters the life of mortals without a curse.” — Sophocles

But as a designer, we have the responsibility to find a balance between ethical and unethical design because there is huge competition in the market if one company choose to go for the ethical design they will leave the market gap and some other company will use persuasive design to manipulate users and it will surpass their competitors.
Future designers need to understand ethics in design like we see these popular social media apps as Instagram and Facebook did, they are now allowing users to monitor their activity time, and this is not a big change. I feel that it’s okay to make money for these companies, but we need government rules and regulations to keep this persuasive design under control.

Thanks for reading!

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