Remember: You are responsible for what you put into this world

I did not think two short weeks on Ethics in Design staged by Hyper Island would take me on a life-changing journey. But the concept, the readings, and reflections threw me into a genuine re-evaluation of what I have learned so far about design. I got to take a look at my standards and values in a way I had not expected to, and it forced me to take a stand. What purpose do I want to serve?

Ill: Soulpancake

What’s the use of making a lot of money, if the success and riches are built on manipulating people, making them unhappy? Is it possible to thrive in a company living off design that makes users spend more money than necessary on all their buys? Or do you believe we have moral obligations, as humans, to always create good for the world? If you think we do, can we work together to establish Ethical Design as a new normal for the industry?

– Storytelling based on statistics has never been more interesting!

Anyone can see it, the sharp curves that spike around march 2020, when looking at the Google Trends website for search history on words like “Order at home” and “Working at home with kids”. But searches that really hit the ceiling this past year were “Kid’s desk” and “Office chair”. At the same time, surprisingly enough, since humans on earth are spending more time at home than ever, searches for “Counseling” dipped to an all time low. The reason for the phenomenon: the world’s worst pandemic since WWII.

Statistics from Google Trend, showing search terms in graphs. The vertical scale shows the percentage (0–100) of all searches measured at the same time. The horizontal scale shows results from five years of statistics in the USA. The first spike is ”work with kids at home”. The second spike came when people realized that they were in for a longhaul, and decided to buy office desks and office chairs. ILL: GOOGLE TRENDS.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Google is the world’s most visited website and search motor. It’s even one of the most-searched terms on Microsofts competing, but smaller, search motor Bing (”google” is query number three to be exact, only bypassed by “facebook” and “youtube” ). But more importantly, for this text, it’s possible to extract so many facts about peoples behaviors and wishes from Google’s statistics, not only through your own website analytics set up, but also from global, or local, trends in search words.

– if you let them

Organizations with leaders who have a hard time letting go of being in control, hold back innovative ideas, champion outdated management methods, and cannot see the benefits of diversity and inclusion, must realize that these attitudes are an obstacle to both development and business success.

That’s not only a point of view, it’s a fact supported by statistics. But, there is hope! Agile methods and UX-designers can help. All you need is to be flexible, open, and ready for the rapid changes that are inevitable when you invite them to your playground.

Words on the pavement saying “Passion led us here”
Words on the pavement saying “Passion led us here”

UX:ers can drive disruptive, unique, and beautifully innovative changes in your organization, unleash the true potential of your employees and profoundly change the way you work to produce your services. And it will lead to better business too.

Tales & Facts from the Hyper Island UX upskill program

Imagine yourself setting out in a small open boat on a wild and stormy ocean, without a certain destination, equipped only with the trust that somehow you will soon learn how to master sailing. That’s the feeling, the beauty and terror, of Hyper Island’s learning-by-doing-methods: While you are clinging to the rudder, thinking you have no idea what you’re doing, the creative confusion storm keeps bringing you closer towards understanding the what and the why. And that’s where my story begins. Read on to know more.

colored lights and dimmed picture
colored lights and dimmed picture
Photo: Unsplash

Online learning


– shrinking the gap between expectations and reality.

When I was offered an internship as a “Robot personality designer” with Furhat Robotics, a small swedish company that produces one of the worlds most sophisticated interactive Social Robots, I did not think twice. I was super happy to try the role, part of a campaign on future jobtitles. I got to take baby steps in robot programming, and a starstruck selfie with robot creator Samer Al Moubayed.

This is how I got connected with the Furhat.

Social Robot Head and computor
Social Robot Head and computor
My social robot lab. Photo © Aminata Grut

The Furhat I have been assigned to program looks at me with big eyes and a friendly, open expression. It is not really possible to mistake it for a human. But the facial mimic, the natural posture of the head, the soft, 3d animated image, projected from the inside on it’s silicone mask, and the fact that it can speak and listen to me, creates a surprisingly likeable and realistic persona.

Aminata Merete

UX Designer & UX Writer, with some Frontend skills. Journalist. IP/Author's Rights. Tech. New Digital Media. Networking across the Globe. Ex board mbr RSF/SE.

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