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Formulation of guidelines for a more ethical user experience design

Klemen Trupej (2021) Formulation of guidelines for a more ethical user experience design. MSc thesis.

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    User experience design (UXD) often appears unethical, and creators of user ex-perience do not have guidelines that could assist with moral decisions. Even though there are GDPR regulations (General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) – Official Legal Text, n.d.) for mobile applications and websites, and platforms specific regu-lations (App Store and Google Play – only for mobile applications), that do not allow applications with insulting nature (App Store Review Guidelines - Apple Developer, n.d.), or are trying to protect privacy, the field is mainly unregulated. This short-coming of thinking about ethics could open doors to unethical practices in UXD, such as creating malicious user interfaces that trick users into clicking certain but-tons, performing ‘behind the scenes’ A/B research inside the mobile applications or websites without users’ knowledge, manipulating users through user-experience, abusing privacy of users, and others. In this thesis, I discuss how disposition to-wards virtuous behavior could lead to a more ethical UXD and create a foundation for guidelines. In the discussion about ethics, I use one of the three contemporary approaches in normative ethics, called virtue ethics, which puts forth the character of a person who is making a moral decision, i.e., an agent (Hursthouse, 2014; Kawall, 2014; Van Zyl, 2018). In the process of UXD, there are more agents included, such as artifact originator (client), user experience designer, user interface designer, de-veloper, copywriter, and user. In my work, I present and stress the importance of all the agents included, and not only artifact originator or user experience designer. To reach the goal of my thesis, I defined the basic steps that could be common to the creation of different UXD artifacts, with a focus on mobile applications, web-sites, and software, and defined the agents involved in this process. Further, I de-fined the responsibilities of each of the agents (e.g., designing the user interface for a user interface designer). Additionally, I presented how UXD could be beneficial or harmful, and I used this knowledge to discuss how disposition to virtuous behavior could lead to more ethical, and avoid unethical, UXD. The result of the thesis are guidelines, presenting concrete examples of how each of the agents, being disposed to virtuous behavior, could contribute to a more eth-ical UXD. The final thoughts will later be published on a collaborative website that would invite other experts from the field to contribute.

    Item Type: Thesis (MSc thesis)
    Keywords: user experience design, user interface, human-computer interaction, ethics, virtue ethics, virtues
    Number of Pages: 92
    Language of Content: English
    Mentor / Comentors:
    Mentor / ComentorsIDFunction
    doc. dr. Toma StrleMentor
    Link to COBISS: https://plus.si.cobiss.net/opac7/bib/peflj/70697731
    Institution: University of Ljubljana
    Department: Faculty of Education
    Item ID: 6791
    Date Deposited: 20 Jul 2021 07:36
    Last Modified: 20 Jul 2021 07:36
    URI: http://pefprints.pef.uni-lj.si/id/eprint/6791

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