Instead of obsessing over the pixels, we should hope to impact people's lives positively with the beautiful things we're making. That's what we should be measuring.
Not everyone has designer skills, but everyone is making design decisions that affect the user experience: performance, privacy, metrics, employee incentives. - Interview with Kim Goodwin, Offscreen issue 21
We can use Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs as a starting point and move towards self-actualisation. It has been critiqued that this model is western and individualistic, but there's a growing model to serve community actualisation instead.
In the case of the internet of things, I won't achieve self-actualisation with the ability to turn on and off my lights remotely, for example. However, someone who is disabled might because it helps them to be more independent.
On the other hand, domestic abusers might take advantage of this technology and make it a form of harassment to others, such as locking things out. This is taking someone out of the potential of self-actualisation.
As the product team, we should be making sure that whatever we're building - the good has to greatly outweigh the damage it might cause to some people. Doing no harm to others must be the top of our mind when designing and building products.
Technology is possibly the biggest "human subject research" ever.
Human subject research is what you're doing any time you collect data about people and try to draw conclusions from it.
Without our consent, our data is being collected by websites, mobile devices, and gadgets. All our actions and personal information are observed and being manipulated by the companies who control those products.
In the academic and health fields, your subjects must provide some type of consent before you can study their behaviours and intervene with their lives. There's already a specific set of ethics that you must hold up to, which is completely missing in the tech and internet industry. We want the companies to hold themselves accountable and regulate it among themselves, but we see no progress from them.
Companies cannot be completely trusted to make their own ethical decisions and practices, so there must be an external and independent party to regulate it for them all.
We can't assume everyone is tech-savvy enough to know if they're being manipulated or not. Sometimes, even if they do, it can be difficult.
Many people are too busy to learn the details (who has the time to read the T&Cs anyway?). So there must be a better and simpler approach to share the details with people.
It's not just showing them the details, but also to make sure the people understand what they're signing up for.
In other words, the average person doesn't need to understand how the sausage is made, but I think they need to understand what's in the sausage they're about to eat. — Interview with Kim Goodwin, Offscreen issue 21