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  • samanthaosys

Ethical decisions in digital product design - An Introduction to my research

Throughout my career, I have been deeply fascinated by the human experience and how people interact with the technology around them. Over the years, I have been lucky enough to work on various design projects, allowing me to explore this topic in depth. From designing user interfaces for software programs to developing new prototypes, my work has been driven by a desire to create products that are genuinely user-centred in their approach.

One of the areas I have focused my research on is the psychology of decision-making. By understanding how people make choices and the factors that influence those choices, I am better able to design products that meet the end user's needs. This has extended to studying neuroscience research (Rilling & Sanfey, 2011) to understand better how the brain works in relation to technology. In addition, research into different mental models has helped me gain insights into how to design user interfaces that are intuitive and easy to use.

As a designer, I have always been aware of the power of design to influence individual behaviour and choices. However, I have found a considerable design gap that needs to be addressed when it comes to ethics. In my experience, it is not uncommon to encounter situations where design decisions are made solely for profit, with little regard for the long-term impact on the user or society. To bridge this gap, designers must consider the ethical implications of their work and strive to create products that promote the user's well-being while positively contributing to society.

Regarding ethical considerations in product design, it's essential to recognise that every design decision can affect someone's life. From how we present information to the choices we make in design; each decision can contribute to or detract from the user's well-being. That's why it's essential to think and talk about ethics. By making small ethical choices now, we can build a better honest product design landscape for the future.

As a designer passionate about the intersection of technology and ethics, I embarked on a research journey to explore the different factors that influence ethical decision-making in digital product design. My study examines the ethical considerations of individual designers and the impact of organisational culture, product development timelines and stakeholder incentives on ethical practices. Through my research, I hope to shed light on the complex web of influences that shape design decisions and encourage designers to prioritise the well-being of users and society.

During my research, I have encountered numerous instances where a lack of ethical thinking has led to severe consequences for users. These incidents span a variety of industries, including healthcare (Kara, 2022) finance (Wang & Johnson, 2018), and technology (Marshall, 2022). The effects can be devastating, whether the unauthorised use of personal information or the implementation of flawed systems that fail to consider the impact on those who use them. As we move into a more digitally connected world, it has become increasingly clear that ethical considerations must be at the forefront of all decision-making processes.



  • Kara. (2022, August 19). McKinsey and Its Opioids Scandal. Seven Pillars Institute.

  • Marshall, P. (2022). Scandal at the Post Office: The Intersection of Law, Ethics and Politics. Digital Evidence and Electronic Signature Law Review, 19, 12.

  • Rilling, J. K., & Sanfey, A. G. (2011). The Neuroscience of Social Decision-Making. Annual Review of Psychology, 62(1), 23–48.

  • Wang, P., & Johnson, C. (2018). Cybersecurity Incident Handling: A Case Study Of The Equifax Data Breach. Issues In Information Systems.

Photo by Dan Dimmock on Unsplash

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