Today’s designers continue to maintain the status quo without industry or external criticism or pressure. Whereas other industries have ethical review boards or independent investigative bodies, popular design is apathetic22 to harm reduction or political discussion. Because of this, the industry is yet to fully examine its participation to the current techno-political climate. In 2017 – as wealthy democracies destabilise and technology is embraced in conflict-stricken societies – the ethical and empathetic failings of user experience design harms users with increasing regularity and intensity.
The focus on details and delight can be traced to manifestos like Steve Krug’s Don’t Make Me Think, which propose a dogmatic adherence to cognitive obviousness and celebrates frictionless interaction as the ultimate design accomplishment. Users should never have to question an interface. Instead, designers should anticipate and cater to their needs: ”It doesn’t matter how many times I have to click, as long as each click is a mindless, unambiguous choice.15”