Design for Good? Collaboratively Defining Designers’ Codes of Ethics

Ethics are a difficult topic for designers to discuss. We do not have the language, structure, or common understanding needed to define our moral boundaries as a professional community. Attendees of last year’s IxD conference made this clear as they brought up ethics repeatedly during conference conversations. This workshop will help participants articulate their own personal code of ethics as well as collaborate with others to create communal Designers’ Oaths.

Participants will start the workshop with a gameful role playing icebreaker to get them out of their traditional mindsets regarding design and ethics. This experience will allow participants to role play through situations to define their personal understanding of ethics and learn strategies for discussing ethics in a group environment.

We will introduce the Designer’s Oath project and share the project’s transformation. Participants will follow the project’s journey from mad-lib ethical guideline into a conversational tool used by designers around the globe.

Participants will break into small groups to collaboratively write and illustrate a Designer’s Oath representing their group’s understanding of the responsibility we have as designers to those we design for. These Oaths will be shared with the IxDA community.

Samantha Dempsey

Samantha Dempsey

Samantha Dempsey is an experience designer at Mad*Pow where she designs interactions between people, their bodies, and healthcare systems. Her background in illustration informs her approach to experience design as she incorporates narrative flow, visual storytelling, and sequential art into her work. She conducts research into visualizing patient narratives and creates tools to facilitate visual communication between patients and clinicians. In her spare time, she enjoys embroidering patterns of bacteria onto household objects.

Ciara Taylor

Ciara Taylor

Ciara Taylor is a Senior Experience Designer at Mad*Pow where she applies her knowledge of games to design playful and meaningful experiences for behavior change. She has always had one foot in the design world and the other in the gaming world. Working in both communities, Ciara has utilized her hybrid role to research and design new ways to create community engagement through elements of play. When she isn’t designing playful experiences, she plays games, gushes over cute sloths and introduces fellow Mad*Pow folks to new music and vocabulary… awesomesauce!





Aalto University’s Arabia Campus, Hämeentie 135 C, Helsinki

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