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Values by Design Imaginaries: Exploring Values Work in UX Practice

Wed Apr 07, 2021 4:00 PM - 5:30 PM
Growing public discussions, regulations, and worker actions call for greater consideration of social values and ethics during technology development. Recognizing the prevalence of initiatives to address social values âbyâ design (such as privacy by design, security by design, and governance by design), this dissertation talk explores the relationships between design practices and social values. This work uses speculative design â the creation of conceptual designs to generate reflection and discussion â in relation to social values in multiple ways, including provoking discussion, sparking reflection, and acting as a qualitative research method. This work also uses interviews and observations to study the tactics of North American user experience (UX) professionals who work at large technology companies and see addressing values as part of their work practice. They attend to values as a part of everyday UX work such as when designing interfaces or conducting user research. However, 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. Join the online lecture