Unravelling ethical UX design: How can we design systems that work better for people?

Ethical design

Unravelling ethical UX design: How can we design systems that work better for people?

Analysts have predicted that by 2020, there will be as many as 200 billion connected digital devices in use, with each of these devices providing a gateway to an online world full of UX design. But with great power comes great responsibility, and as key industries such as transport, banking, media and education deploy digital services, ensuring their designs are not only functional, but efficient, enjoyable and ethical for users – while simultaneously pinning their profits to design – makes matters increasingly complex. Meanwhile, other areas in the private and public sector which could benefit greatly by reconsidered design based on users and their experience are being left behind. We talk with Optimal Workshop CEO Andrew Mayfield about what constitutes good UX design, harnessing new-age design practice and the potential for better UX design in the public sector.

Bombing out

Lush UK recently released a bold and cryptic message that slammed social media channels, their algorithms and their pay-for-play strategy, and said it would be going dark on their social media channels and talking with their community in other ways. CEO of Socialites Wendy Thompson shares her thoughts on why this decision by a major brand doesn't put the customer first.

Who made your clothes?

The 2018 Ethical Fashion Guide by Tearfund has shown Kiwis how some of our most trusted brands have performed when put under the microscope. A lot of the brands within New Zealand performed well and had good results, yet some scored lower than expected. So, what do the grades reflect, and what should we take from the study?

The bots are coming

Putting AI and ethics in the same sentence can make anyone who’s watched an episode of Westworld or Black Mirror squeamish, as is the friction that comes with humans and futuristic tech. But as someone who’s at the forefront of international AI developments, Microsoft’s global AI leader David Heiner says there are many initiatives underway to ensure ethical disasters don’t play out. And he says the social good AI can do for humanity should get more airtime, too.


Does your car “not want” to start on cold mornings? And does your toaster “like” burning your toast? This kind of intentional language is natural to us and built into the way we interact with the world – even with machines. This is because we have evolved to become extremely social animals, understanding others by forming mental models of what they are thinking. We use these skills to understand the behaviour of anything complicated we interact with, especially robots.

Pitch Circus

Coffee pods used in handy coffee machines are taking hundreds of years to decompose. This prompted university students Josh Cole and Jayden Klinac to start up The Honest Coffee Company that sells biodegradeable coffee pods.