HCI grad program at CSU Northridge
Can anyone tell me about their experience with or knowledge of the HCI program at CSU Northridge?
W.A. Hynes & Company, Inc.
fax (888) 562-1471
rkane at waHco-it.com
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From: discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com [mailto:discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com] On Behalf Of Jonathan Arnowitz
Sent: Wednesday, August 01, 2007 2:06 PM
To: Robert Reimann
Cc: Interaction Design Association (IxDA)
Subject: Re: [IxDA Discuss] Ethical Issues for Interaction Designers
Do No Harm, also recalls the Designer's Hippocratic oath that appeared in interactions Magazine:
On 8/1/07, Robert Reimann <rmreimann at gmail.com> wrote:
> A set of ethical guidelines allows designers to take an ethical stand.
> You didn't "have" to design that home page you mentioned. You weighed
> the ethics vs. the ethical imperative for you to put dinner on your
> family's table, and made a choice.
> The point of a professional code of ethics is to give professionals a
> bit more leverage in making those kinds of ethical choices. Without a
> professional code of ethics, it is easy for a client to say "if you
> won't do it today, I'll find someone who will tomorrow". A
> professional code in theory makes this harder for the client to say,
> and more likely for them to listen to arguments that their strategy,
> while productive in the short run, will not build them the kind of
> customer relationships that would serve them best in the long run, and
> that other creative solutions exist.
> As you say, however, there are applications that don't have that sort
> of wiggle room:
> gambling applications and military applications come immediately to mind.
> colleague of mine is now an interaction designer for battlefield
> intelligence applications, which for me is enough of a gray area that
> I would not seek that kind of work. While at Cooper, we took on a
> client who created software for tracking and directing the orbits of
> satellites... they could be weather satellites or spy satellites; the
> software was application agnostic-- so we took the business. The
> client later came back wanting us to design a module for tracking and
> directing cruise missles... and we refused the business. The point is
> that you're right, there are many subtle shades to consider, but I
> feel that a standard of ethics is a tool for informing such decisions
> more than it is for proscribing an absolute response.
> And what about gambling? Would a code of ethics make it more difficult
> for such clients to procure their seductive and misleading designs?
> Hard to know, but it would at least allow us as ethical professionals
> to take a public stand on such issues, which could in the long run
> have a positive effect.
> Some people, including some who are regarded as spokepersons for our
> field, believe that it is wrong to have any designer's code of ethics,
> and that the client is always right, regardless of what they ask us to
> do. I believe it is the responsibility of designers as advocates of
> the users (and others affected by the design) to point out to clients
> when their choices are not good for either their customers or their
> business in the long run. I believe that among other things this can
> lead to greater respect both for customers and for designers as
> Personally I draw the line at not designing products that will
> intentionally directly harm or help harm people (I would include
> gambling applications: predatory financial harm).
> "Do no (intentional) harm" is a basic ethical idea I'm almost always
> comfortable sticking by.
> Not surprisingly therefore, my favorite design projects have been
> medical applications...
> at the other end of the spectrum. My choice.
> On 7/31/07, Christopher Fahey <chris.fahey at behaviordesign.com> wrote:
> > Thomas J. Froehlich wrote:
> > > What kinds of ethical issues arise in IxD or IA practice...?
> > What a coincidence, given my last post RE: gambling user experience
> > design.
> > Dan Saffer wrote:
> > > I suggest that the ethical baseline for interaction designers
> > > should be that the behaviors we engender through the products and
> > > services we create treat both the actor and the receiver of the
> > > action with dignity and respect.
> > >
> > > It is surprisingly easy to do otherwise.
> > Not just easy, but sometimes it's a fundamental requirement.
> > Your ethical proscriptions are great, but we should recognize and
> > examine the fact that there are plenty of top-notch user experience
> > designs out there whose fundamental design constraint is to treat
> > the user with utter contempt and disrespect. Not just gambling, but
> > scammers, spammers, and pornographers. The challenges they face in
> > their practice and craft are entirely parallel with ours, minus the
> > moral compass.
> > What's interesting is that this disrespect crosses over into the
> > legitimate business sphere. Once, working for a former employer
> > designing a web site for a financial institution, I noticed that the
> > client stakeholders were unanimous in instructing us to make the
> > legally-mandated friendly-language legal notices as hard to find and
> > read as we possibly could, basically to try to hide them as much as
> > possible without breaking the law. Suffice to say that we stayed
> > within the letter of the law.
> > I've also had to design a home page that forced users to enter their
> > email address just to give the product a test drive, and I knew full
> > well that the company planned to then send the user marketing emails
> > nearly daily until the user either figured out how to unsubscribe or
> > signed up for the product/program. I was told, in no uncertain
> > terms, that removing the signup form from the home page, thus
> > letting users check out the service without giving personal
> > information, would have a huge negative impact on their bottom line.
> > Apparently the relentless spamming actually worked in converting a
> > large number of prospects into paying customers, prospects who the
> > client was convinced would not have signed up if they simply were
> > allowed to try the product out in their initial experience with the
> > site. What's more, simply having a large number of registered
> > prospect emails was helpful for the company's VC efforts. We kept
> > the form. Was I showing dignity and respect for their users? I don't think so.
> > In terms of UX Ethics, is there a gray area between, say, designing
> > a web site to trick people into entering email addresses for
> > spamming and harvesting and something more benign like, say,
> > designing a corporate site navigation scheme where the customer
> > service form is deliberately a little bit hard to find? Or a gray
> > area between designing hot-stock-tip spam and desiging a short
> > full-screen interstitial ad for a content web site? That gray area
> > is worth exploring, because so much of what we think are ethical absolutes start to get a little blurry.
> > -Cf
> > Christopher Fahey
> > ____________________________
> > Behavior
> > http://www.behaviordesign.com
> > me: http://www.graphpaper.com
> > ________________________________________________________________
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> Robert Reimann
> President, IxDA
> Manager, User Experience
> Bose Corporation
> Framingham, MA
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Co-Author, Effective Prototyping for Software Makers Now Available from Morgan Kaufman www.mkp.com/prototyping
j.s.arnowitz at acm.org
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