Ethics in digital design

January 24, 2022

Technology empowers us, enables us and can even destroy us.

Creating and delivering through co-design

For over a decade, Mind Of My Own’s digital tools have been creating a safe space to address various social challenges faced by children. We have been doing this hand in hand with our users – co-producing our digital products with children and young people. By creating and delivering through co-design, we can focus on what the children find delightful, useful and a good representation of themselves. 

But we are not stopping there, our recent blog highlights the need to hear the voices of children in the youth justice system. We have been working on developing digital tools that gives young people in youth justice a voice, empowering them to share and talk about their feelings, views and their life.

We empower our users

When social challenges seek a tech solution, the role of ethics within design takes precedence over everything. 

This comes with lot of responsibility. While we design these digital products, we not only empower our users (both young people and their youth justice workers) but also protect them from invisible triggers, safeguarding their thoughts and opinions. We are mindful of the context that we could be engaging a history of trauma or unpleasant lived experience. We are focused on creating a tool that not only meets the needs of these young people but is also:

  • Intuitive – when a child sees it, they know exactly what to do
  • Safe – the child feels unharmed while using the digital tool. They should perceive this as a secure space, in fact as their own space where they can speak freely
  • Transparent – the child is always aware of what is being asked from them, why is it asked, and what impact it is going to have in their relationship with the youth justice service. The child has a choice throughout. No influencing, or suggesting in any way either through language, fonts, colours, or graphics.

Ethical outcomes for everyone

We have been making conscious ethical design decisions at every step by asking the tough questions of people working within youth justice, including the young people.

Who benefits from this digital tool? Who loses? Who is excluded? How can it be misused? What happens next? 

The Ethical Hierarchy of Needs pyramid offers a framework that aptly fits our Mind Of My Own app, as our approach of using technology to meet the human centred needs fully respects it. 

Watch this space for more on how we go about designing these digital tools for children in school, social care or youth justice.