Defensive design is the application of design to anticipate and minimize room for a product’s misuse. Consider 3-pronged plugs or SIM cards — their shape alone enforces that they will be used correctly.
What would it look like to apply this kind of defensiveness to products (and design, broadly) to protect them from misuse on a social dimension? How can we use design to protect civil liberties, safety, equity, and agency? How can we perform Critical Design Thinking?
So often, especially in the realm of digital product design, we are taught to optimize for certain heuristics: minimize the number of clicks to get from one point to another, make information discoverable, reduce friction … the list goes on.
Designers have an incredible amount of agency to both challenge and develop people’s visions of the future. In this talk, we’ll learn about what it means to prioritize ethics in design, especially as these visions introduce unintended (and at times, exploitative) consequences.