Of course, the goal of any good design is to keep users engaged. But in the case of Facebook and other social media, “engagement” can easily become into “can’t-stop-scrolling,” or even addiction. The result is an often overlooked ethical conundrum to designers creating digital experiences: When is design too engaging for users’ own good?
An interesting article about the tweaks Facebook and others make to keep users hooked. This adds fuel for thought in the conversation around design and ethics (see Mike Monteiro’s A Designer’s Code of Ethics); specifically the following comes to mind:
By choosing to be a designer you are choosing to impact the people who come in contact with your work, you can either help or hurt them with your actions. The effect of what you put into the fabric of society should always be a key consideration in your work.
When we ignorantly produce work that harms others because we didn’t consider the full ramifications of that work, we are doubly guilty.