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What is ethical design ?

Sheza Naveed

Grokking Modern System Design Interview for Engineers & Managers

Ace your System Design Interview and take your career to the next level. Learn to handle the design of applications like Netflix, Quora, Facebook, Uber, and many more in a 45-min interview. Learn the RESHADED framework for architecting web-scale applications by determining requirements, constraints, and assumptions before diving into a step-by-step design process.

Ethical design is the design that is made to have a positive impact. Unethical design is the opposite of ethical design.

Schools of ethical thought

There are two schools of ethical thought:

Figure 1: The two systems of ethical thought

Designing ethically

In order to design ethically, solutions should be constructed keeping the following concepts into consideration:

Figure 2: Characteristics of ethical design

Autonomous design

Autonomous design allows the users to:

  • Have control over product use.
  • Make their own interaction choices when they use the product.
  • Customize the product for themselves.

Transparent design

Transparent design informs the users of:

  • Their terms and conditions in an understandable manner.
  • What they are signing up for.

Safe design

Safe design caters to:

  • The privacy and security of the users.
  • The physical and emotional well-being of the users.

How to design ethically?

Figure 3: Designing Ethically

Harms caused by unethical design

Unethical design harms people in various ways:

  • Physical harm - endless scrolling on sites disturbs the normal activity of a healthy person.

  • Data Leakage - companies share data with third parties without explicit user content that is used to manipulate users.

  • Financial Loss: Engage users in unreasonable data packages and making it extremely difficult to back out.

  • Emotional harm - showing content that is harmful to people of certain ages.

The reasons behind unethical design include financial incentives and increased user engagement.

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CONTRIBUTOR

Sheza Naveed
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Grokking Modern System Design Interview for Engineers & Managers

Ace your System Design Interview and take your career to the next level. Learn to handle the design of applications like Netflix, Quora, Facebook, Uber, and many more in a 45-min interview. Learn the RESHADED framework for architecting web-scale applications by determining requirements, constraints, and assumptions before diving into a step-by-step design process.

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