Gabriel White

Ethics of Everyday Design

How should designers think about ethics in everyday design? Good design is not just usable, useful and engaging, it's also ethically sound. It's easy to identify clear examples of designs that achieve good ends: tools for people in developing nations to filter drinking water, or energy-monitoring systems that help reduce environmental impact.

But day to day work of most designers doesn't address these kinds of problems. This session will describe the dimensions of ethical design, and then propose a set of heuristics for understanding how ethical judgment can apply to the details of everyday interaction design, showing clear examples of what the heuristics mean. It will be argued that heuristics are an effective way for designers to think about the ethical dimensions of the work they do, and show designers it's possible to design everyday systems in a more ethical way.


Gabriel is a seasoned interaction designer and world traveller. Currently a Principal Designer at Frog Design in San Francisco, Gabriel has led design teams at Motorola China, worked as a visiting researcher at Microsoft Research's Lab in Beijing, and consulted for The Hiser Group in Australia. Gabriel was the interaction design lead for Motorola's MotoFone, a product designed specifically for poor, non-literate people in developing countries. Gabriel graduated from the University of Melbourne with a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in philosophy.


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