“This interactive documentary lasts 50 minutes, would you like to use your time to watch Ethics for Design?”
By Claire Caudron
— Jan 3, 2018
This is the question put to the viewer before the start of the “Ethics for Design” documentary by Gauthier Roussilhe.
Every day we use objects, applications, platforms and services which were designed to meet our needs. But are they all designed with our interests in mind? Some interfaces are created to grab our full attention, and product series are designed to become obsolete. Today, when tools have an ever greater influence on the life of users and on society as a whole, the community involved in research into human and social sciences and that involved in design are starting to draw one conclusion – the design of any product can be a moral dilemma when the designer has to choose between his economic survival, his client’s financial interest and the end-user’s well-being.
For almost two years now, we have witnessed an effervescence of ideas and thoughts about this subject, via the Ethics by Design conferences on sustainable digital design and movements such as Time Well Spent by Tristan Harris and James Williams on the downturn in the economy of attention.
The Ethics for Design documentary also comes into this debate, by tackling the issue of the impact of designers’ work on the daily life of users. The various people involved underline the importance of ethical considerations in their work, their design and project choices, and the support for their clients. The documentary moves ethics back into centre stage and upstream of any reflection, and shows that it is becoming essential in the increase in autonomy and relevance of designers’ work in the face of our societies’ real challenges.
But the intention of this documentary is also to go beyond the awareness gaining ground in the media world, by calling for the introduction of a truly innovative ethical framework, so that those who innovate today work not with the tools of yesterday, but those of tomorrow.
To view the documentary:
For more information about the work of Gauthier Roussilhe: