Many business models thrive on ingeniously deceptive and manipulative digital products. Not because they have to; mostly because dark patterns have become such an accepted norm. But what happens when ad-blockers, cross-browser tracking protection and data regulation (e.g. GDPR & CCPA) become a norm, too? That's when an honest, ethical design could be a competitive advantage.
To grow a sustainable business, we need to learn how to leave dark patterns behind. We also need to figure out how to make honest digital products financially viable. Products that enable and respect customer choices and are built and designed with ethics in mind. That's exactly why we created a new book. Jump to the table of contents ↓
Meet Ethical Design Handbook, our new book with practical techniques and blueprints on how companies ridden with questionable practices can shift towards better, sustainable design. Download a free PDF excerpt (5 MB).
About The Book
When we set out to write this book, we wanted to develop a new type of working framework to empower people to practice ethical design in their business, in their teams, and with their products. The reason was simple: too many products we use today have become machines for tricking customers into decisions they never intended to make. That’s not quite the web we want to see around us.
It's not just the poor state of the web that brings us here though. It's the lack of alternatives that companies can rely on. In light of new data regulation and tracking protection, there are some critical questions that only few companies have addressed yet:
- What happens if you can’t get access to personal data that’s been feeding the machine all this time?
- What if your competitors discover an alternative business model way before you do?
- What if you can’t track and target customers wandering from one website to another?
- What happens when ad-blocking becomes mainstream and your advertising scripts are dismissed by crafty blockers?
- How should the work of marketing teams change with new regulations, such as GDPR and CCPA?
- What competitive advantages can your business gain by focusing on privacy and transparency?
Ethical Design Handbook explores alternative, sustainable business models and shows how businesses can move towards ethical design and become more profitable as a result. It’s a very practical and tactical guide for designers, developers and management, with case studies and techniques applicable to every digital product.
Table Of Contents
- 1. The need for ethics in design+
- 2. Creating positive change+
- 3. Respect-driven design+
- 4. The business of ethical design+
- 5. Ethical design best practices+
- 6. Getting started+
In the book, you’ll learn how to:
- Help companies understand ethical design,
- Justify and prove a business case,
- Grow a sustainable business based on transparency and honesty,
- Balance data collection and privacy,
- Work within new legislation (GDPR/CCPA),
- Evaluate and improve design decisions,
- Embed ethical design into your workflow,
- Gradually transform your organization.
368 pages. Free shipping worldwide. The eBook is available as PDF, ePUB, and Amazon Kindle. Written by Trine Falbe, Martin Michael Frederiksen and Kim Andersen. Get the book now.
About The Authors
Trine Falbe is a human-centered UX strategist, designer and teacher who works in the intersection between people and business. Trine is deeply passionate about ethical design and designing for children, and she is also a keynote speaker at conferences and a UX advisor in strategic projects.
As a serial entrepreneur since the very first browser, Martin Michael Frederiksen was born with a practical appreciation for the crossroads between business and digital development. He has published the books Cross Channel and the CEO’s Guide to IT Projects That Cannot Fail. He works as an independent consultant for businesses that need a devil’s advocate when trying out new strategies and ideas.
After training at an international advertising agency, Kim Andersen quickly left print media for digital design. Owing to his amazing memory he always leaves design meetings with an empty notebook, only to attend the following meeting armed with drawings where nothing has been forgotten and everything is drawn in great detail. He owns the digital design studio Onkel Kim, and he prefers difficult and complex design tasks where the brain is working overtime.
- ISBN: 978-3-945749-83-8 (print)
- Quality hardcover, stitched binding, ribbon page marker.
- Free shipping worldwide, airmail from Germany.
(Check your delivery times.)
- 100-days-money-back-guarantee: no ifs or buts.
- The eBook is available as PDF, ePUB, and Amazon Kindle.
- Get the book right away.
“This is the book designers have all been missing: A practical reference book on how to work ethically in design. Starting with the why - what does "Ethical Design" mean, and why is this book even necessary or important, the book easily morphs into the business value of ethical design, best practices in ethical design, and how you can influence positive change.”
— Helle Martens, UX consultant
“It’s easy to feel like we’ve lost the web we used to love. The Ethical Design Handbook is an essential guide to reclaiming it. Packed with practical resources and guidance for designers, developers, and project managers, it will help you to integrate a higher standard of professionalism into your work on the web. Refreshingly, this book contains no inspirational waffle, public shaming, or lectures on morality. What it does contain is proven techniques, standards, and strategies for getting the job done while protecting your users.
That matters more than you think. As policymakers seek to crack down on the tech giants who have diminished the web for us all, adopting the techniques in this book can be an essential way of defending our craft from heavy-handed regulation.”
— Heather Burns, Tech policy consultant
“I’ve just finished reading The Ethical Design Handbook and am both brimming with new ideas and am more hopeful about the future. The authors bring new tools to the table, and also do a good job of reminding designers how many of our current tools already help us contribute to positive impact. The trick is that we have to make sure to actually put in the effort, and have some cake to keep us going.”
— Per Axbom, Commmunication theorist
“The Ethical Design Handbook is exactly what its title implies: a gentle, persuasive, perspective-giving guide to how you can become a better designer without selling your soul.”
— Stephen Hay, Creative Director, Rabobank
“The Ethical Design Handbook should probably be compulsory reading for all tech workers.”
— Bruce Lawson, Web standards advocate
Community Matters ❤️
With The Ethical Design Handbook, we’ve tried to create a very focused handbook with applicable, long-living solutions to introduce a positive change in companies ridden with dark patterns and questionable practices.
There is quite a bit of work to do on the web, but our hope is that with this book, you will be equipped with enough tooling to slowly move a company towards a more sustainable and healthy digital footprint.
Producing a book takes quite a bit of time, and we couldn’t pull it off without the support of our wonderful community. A huge shout-out to Smashing Members for their ongoing support in our adventures. As a result, the eBook is and always will be free for Smashing Members. Plus, Members get a friendly discount when purchasing their printed copy.
Stay smashing, and thank you for your ongoing support, everyone!
More Smashing Books
Promoting best practices and providing you with practical tips to master your daily coding and design challenges has always been (and will be) at the core of everything we do at Smashing. In the past few years, we were very lucky to have worked together with some talented, caring people from the web community to publish their wealth of experience as printed books that stand the test of time. Alla, Adam and Heydon are some of these people. Have you checked out their books already?