Richmond Wong- DI Exploring Values and Ethics in UX Work through Design Futuring


DI Webinar – Richmond Wong, University of California Berkeley Center for Long-Term Cybersecurity

Exploring Values and Ethics in UX Work through Design Futuring

Growing public discussions, regulations, and worker actions call for greater consideration of social values and ethics during technology development. This talk also considers the multiple relationships between design and social values—design as a form of labor, as intervention and provocation, and as research method and reflective practice.

I report on qualitative research studying North American user experience (UX) professionals at large technology companies who see addressing social values as part of their work practice. While they attend to values as a part of everyday UX work, they also engage in activities aimed at shaping their organizations. They sometimes engage in tactics of soft resistance, seeking to subvert existing practices towards more values-conscious ends while maintaining legibility as conducting business-as-usual within the organization. While not always successful, these practices attempt to promote an alternative configuration of doing technical design work that views technology workers as more cognizant, responsible, and empowered to identify and address issues of social values.

I also discuss how design fiction and speculative design approaches were used as research methods in this project. Design fictions were used to analyze and reflect on the qualitative data (“design fiction memos”), and they were created from a perspective to explicitly explore questions related to power and labor (“infrastructural speculations”). This talk suggests new ways to consider values and ethics as a part of design futuring, research, and practice.

Richmond Wong is a Postdoctoral Researcher at the University of California Berkeley Center for Long-Term Cybersecurity. His research focuses on how technology professionals attend to and address ethical issues in their work. His research also aims to develop design-centered methods and approaches to proactively surface consideration of ethical and policy issues related to technology (particularly those surrounding social values such as privacy and security).

Richmond’s work utilizes qualitative and design-based methods, drawing from human computer interaction, science & technology studies, and speculative and critical design. He completed his PhD at the UC Berkeley School of Information. He has published research in HCI venues including ACM’s CHI, CSCW, and DIS conference, and has presented at the 4S science & technology studies conference.

Twitter: @richmondywong