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Designing Ethics: Shifting Ethical Understanding In Design

Originally published on Smashing Magazine

The influence of design is expanding beyond the realms of typography and objects and into healthcare, public policy, education, financial services, and more. Designers working in these emerging design fields are responsible for projects that have significant and fundamental impact on the quality of people's lives with clear ethical implications.

In healthcare, for example, designers are responsible for creating everything from the industrial designer's medical device that keeps a heart beating to the service designer's physical layout of an operating room. Clinicians, with similar levels of influence, initiate their professional practice by swearing to follow the Hippocratic Oath. This sets specific boundaries that guide the ethics of their behavior. Designers, on the other hand, are given no guidance for ethical decision-making even as they continue to expand their influence into newer and riskier fields with long-standing moral implications.

Are designers talking about ethics in their practices? Do designers need or want ethical guidelines? Who should be involved in creating ethical guidelines for a design practice or project? Is there one code of ethics for all types of design and designers?

This article explores multiple interactive methods to create ethical guidelines with interdisciplinary teams using design.

Read the full article on Smashing Magazine