Apply Ethical Principles
Time limit: 1 hour 30 minutes
Remember to use your visual timer! We recommend the inventor’s iOS and Android apps — just search for “Time Timer” in the app store.
Building on the practice exercise you just completed, in this assignment you’ll generate ideas for product features in the dating app — features that could address some of the ethical issues you identified. You’ll then choose one feature to develop in detail.
Generate ideas for app features
Set your timer: 30 minutes
First, mind-map as many ideas as you can for app features that might address one or more of the ethical issues you identified in the previous assignment.
A product feature could be a specific task that the app allows a user to do (for example, “permanently delete account”), or it could be a general feature of how the service works (for example, “require verified personal identification”).
Design one feature
Set your timer: 50 minutes
Next, choose just one of those feature ideas, and start designing the detail of how that feature might work.
This part of the assignment can take whatever form you like. For example, you could:
- Write down bullet points that describe the functionality
- Type up a short proposal that describes the feature
- Sketch some screen designs that show how the feature would work
Here are those ethical principles again for reference:
- Assess the ethical risks and benefits of every project
- Anticipate how a design could be misused
- Design how things will break
- Treat people as ends, not just as means
- Design for diversity, inclusion, and accessibility
- Promote people’s autonomy and informed consent
- Support people’s best interests
- Invite and embrace criticism
- Evaluate the outcomes of completed designs
- Admit to mistakes and make things right
Review the example solution
Once you’ve completed your work on this assignment, take a few minutes to review the example solution below.
Although this assignment only required you to work on one feature, we’ve included a few different feature ideas below for your interest.
Each one has a sketch of an app screen, and a short introduction to explain how we think it connects with the ethical principles we’ve covered in the past few assignments.
Feature idea 1: dating profiles without photo
This idea is to present personals in the style of a newspaper classified ad. Each personal includes a short description of the person’s interests or goals, as well as first name, gender, and age.
This concept aims to avoid the addictive swiping interaction, as well as support people’s autonomy by allowing them to share photos of themselves at a time of their choosing.
This idea connects with the principles “promote people’s autonomy and informed consent” and “treat people as ends, not just as means”.
Feature idea 2: filter function
This idea is to allow people to filter the list of personals by gender, age, and keyword. This concept may help avoid some of the racial, socio-economic, and other bias that could come with an automated algorithm.
This idea connects with the principle “design for diversity, inclusion, and accessibility”.
Feature idea 3: meeting up safety reminder
This idea is to display a timely alert when keywords about meeting up appear in a chat, reminding the user to choose somewhere public and tell a friend where they’re going.
This idea connects with the principle “support people’s best interests” and “anticipate how a design could be misused”.
Feature idea 4: block and report options
This idea is to have options available within the chat to block and/or report another user.
This idea connects with the principle “support people’s best interests”, “anticipate how a design could be misused”, and “promote people’s autonomy and informed consent”.
In the last ten assignments, you’ve learned about visual, usability, and ethical principles in design, and applied your new knowledge in some short design briefs.
After you’ve completed another short reflection on what we covered in Part 2, it’s time to talk about design tools, workflow, and collaboration in Part 3.
Assignment version 1.0
Last updated 7 June 2021