We are surrounded by the products of design--from your iPhone to your favorite pair of shoes. But what is the cost? We have to think about our work and the impact it can have on human lives and the planet. Is a new social media platform needed or will it bring more problems?Many people think that design is just about making things look pretty or ensuring that they are user-friendly. The truth is, there are many consequences to the decisions we make when it comes to designing products and services. We can't forget about the social implications of our work - what does this do for society? What will happen if we focus on a small group? How will the project change the future? In this article, we're going to explore the unintended consequences of design and development.
Almost every application that was ever created serves a purpose, but was every application created with diversity in mind? It is a widely-held belief that design is about creating something reliable and easy to use, but what does this mean for people from marginalized communities? In order to truly value diversity in our products and services, we need to think carefully about the implications of every decision.There are many ways that companies can create problems for minorities. An example can be found in the healthcare sector, many things were created for the white male default. That creates problems when women and people of color need treatment. But it's not just the healthcare industry where diversity is lacking.Designers need to ask themselves, "Is my design inclusive?" when they are creating something that could affect people all over the world, then they must consider every possible use case including marginalized groups. It may seem like an added expense for some people but we should have these thoughts at the start of every design process and we have to talk about it with stakeholders.
Another topic is the implications design can have on society and the environment. Cars weren't created to bring harm to the environment, and Instagram wasn't created to cause depression. Who could've thought that this would be the outcome?There are many great products and services that are fighting with problems that humans created, but we can use design to also avoid creating problems. At the start of every project, we have to ask questions about its purpose and the things it can do in the future, so we can future proof it. This has to be a mindset shift (for some people) that needs to happen. Someone has to play the bad character during the design process and ask more questions.An application that will work on reducing emissions will also have to run on some servers, it will produce CO2. All of us who are trying to improve our communities and make the world a better place need to think more broadly and keep the big picture in front of our eyes!Design is a critical factor for radical change in the world of all living beings since it has been extending its reach to everything from products we use every day to the ways in which our cities are being built. Humans have never been so powerful as today when they can design and create almost anything!
Designers are sometimes idealists and can imagine things that are yet to be created, things that are beautiful, memorable and unique. Developers on the other hand have a different world view of what is possible or not, but they are creators that can turn ideas into reality too. Both roles work closely together to create something new.Those two roles should work closely together as soon as possible, in every project. Thanks to that the developers will have a better understanding of the users and they will notice the possible consequences this design and product can have. This will not only help them to create something that is good, but they can build it in the best possible way.The consequences of design are always relevant for people who use these products on a daily basis. It's important to think about those consequences during every step of building new things or re-designing existing ones. But those are not only consequences of design, but also consequences of development. It's incredible that a line of code can shape how the brain of a teenager works.
Every application has an impact on something, be it a business, a teenager or the planet. It's our duty to think about this when we start to work on a new project. Sometimes we might not see the impact of our work, but that doesn't mean there is no one depending on it. We need to be aware of this power and use it to bring positive change.The technology world has a huge responsibility in front of us because by building new things we are changing lives every day; sometimes without even noticing the power we have. If you are working on an app for teenagers, think about the impact it might have on them and what kind of people they could become with this app. If you are working on a political project, think about how much damage your product can do to democracy or not; if you work at Facebook, remember that your work can impact billions!All of us have to remember that the things we work on today, have a meaning tomorrow and they will define the world we live in. We need to care more about what we are building and think about how it can affect people's lives for good!
Each one of us can change the world, each one of us has the power to do it, and each one of us should think about the consequences our work can have. We are the creators of the future, we are the ones that will shape the world and we are the ones that will change societies and the planet.The next time you start a project or you are about to complete one, make sure that your solutions can impact people positively and constructively. Think about the long-term consequences this project can have and if you know that it can have a negative impact, do something about it!I hope this blog post helped you realize the importance of every single decision we take in our lives as it is not just another piece of code on GitHub. It's a change for good!Article written by Felicjan.