Below small windows on a brick wall” by "My Life Through A Lens" on Unsplash

The UX Designers Code of Conduct

Part 1

As the field of Experience Design seems to expand ever outwards, and peoples lives become more reliant on the things we create, I really think there ought to be an ethical code of conduct that all designers pledge to stand by. We’re in the creation business. Be it a website, an app, or an offline experience, we are creating something, for someone, somewhere. The consumers of what we create are people. Human beings. And every time there is a human being involved, there should be guidance for how we can best serve those people. To give, rather than take away. Much like the hippocratic oath is there to help medical practitioners serve their patients, I wanted to create something more practical for the UX designers of the world.

Photo credit : Erik Witsoe on Unsplash

I promise not to waste the users precious time

Now yes, I am in charge of my time. I chose to do those tasks. But my expectation is that I could get them done in a reasonable amount of time, and that was not the case — as it is with many products and service that are designed and released into the big wide world.

Each day you get 84,600 seconds.

Making the user efficient

As user experience designers we must be mindful that we are creating the most efficient user journeys that help the end user make the best use of their time. When we are careless and lack empathy for this precious resource, we are taking that time away from them. Precious minutes of that person’s life that could be spent on more valuable, enriching, experiences.

  • Getting a tin opener to just grip onto that tin.
  • Scanning, rescanning, and then eventually waiting for an assistant at the self service checkout.
  • Entering your registration — or just working out — how a parking ticket machine works.
  • Organising your online shop, searching for products, and going through the checkout.
  • Spending 5 minutes in a phone queue going through the menu options, or waiting on hold.

Becoming less reckless

As designers we have a responsibility to ask ourselves the following questions about the things we design:

  • How can we get better at assessing our products and services to identify areas that are taking too long?
  • Is this users journey taking a reasonable amount of time?
  • Is it not only a reasonable amount of time, but time well spent? It the time spent enjoyable, and if that’s not appropriate, then is the time invisible?
  • Can we prioritize the things we ask of the user, so they only do the most required tasks?
  • What parts of this journey can we automate, to save time? What savings can we make for this user?

Conclusion

None of us know how much time we are given in life. For the lucky ones, a generous amount of time, and for some, precious little. Regardless, it is important to to help all users do the best they can with their allotted time, in everything you design.

Next Time

What do you think? Are there any areas you feel should belong in the UX Designers Code of Conduct? Let me know your thoughts here, or say hi on twitter! @laura_yarrow

UX and tech geek. Observer of humans. Crisp connoisseur. Yarn fondler. Undercover Northerner.

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