Design can have a deep impact on the human experience, both positive and negative. Social networks like Facebook can enhance communication, but also compromise privacy through exposing the exact location data of its users. Ridesharing companies like Uber can ease transportation, but also push liability onto drivers. Intangible and tangible products can lead to richer experiences for certain populations, but at what expense to society and to the planet? How and when does the designer learn his or her role in the negotiation of ethical considerations? How do we begin to think critically about our design process and the resulting impacts of our designs?
Design Shift is a proposed student group that emerged from these questions. We conducted over 30 interviews to gain an understanding of when and how we consider ethics and critical thinking in our program. Many other students felt, like us, that our current curriculum does not create the opportunities for critical thinking and discussion that we hope it would. In particular, the social, cultural, and environmental implications of design should become not only integral considerations for our design process, but also areas which we actively critique and discuss both within our peer group and with faculty.
- Jennifer Cheng
- Charlotte Ziob
- Kendall Paulsen