6th Academics and Practitioners Roundtable
At the 2018 Information Architecture Summit, Chicago, Illinois, USA
March 21 – Presentations and Discussion
March 22 – Make-a-thon
Summary of the 2018 IA Roundtable on Ethics and Information Architecture.
Information architecture is not neutral. By organizing information for discovery and use, we not only make information accessible but also provide the lens through which people will experience it. Designing information architectures involves making and imposing value choices, which positions the work and study of information architecture in the realm of ethics.
The information architecture community has considered ethics at the micro level, for instance by finding ways to do good in specific interactions. But to what extent have we thought about ethics in the context of our overall profession? When we design IAs do we, as practitioners, surrender our moral authority to someone else? Or do we follow a code?
Carol Smith's IA Summit 2018 Highlights has a section "Ethics Roundtable (Pre-Conference)".
James Mulholland's Reflections on the last Information Architecture Summit has a section "4) Grappling with ethics, influence, responsibility in a complex ecology of information".
Consultant, Adjunct Faculty, California College of the Arts
Velvet Hammer Design
Inspire new ideas, discussion and lively debate around Ethics and IA.
Western history’s notions of Being from an ontological and epistemological standpoint, as it pertains to information architecture.
Examples of feminism and IA can help people see connections, and extrapolate to other questions of ethics.
Research shows that several imperfect, but diverse, heuristics can lead to better design solutions than one well thought out one.
More than being ethical professionals, we information architects have a role to play in the evolution of ethical business models and in society.
Complexity is a prerequisite for evolution. Forcing evolution or progress too quickly can result in problems. Avoid strict adherence to proven methodologies.
To practice ethical information architecture, you have to design for the users you have, and the users you have are disabled.
VIEW SLIDES from a similar talk at the IA Summit
All models are wrong. All maps are traps.
Everyone was split into teams and given a number of scenarios. Teams were tasked with applying ethical principles and rewriting or finishing the scenario to tell a story about IA and Ethics.
At the end of the exercise, each team had a visualized story of an ethical situation important to information architecture, which highlighted a principle or key insight. Each team gave a 10 minute presentation sharing their story and their proposed ideas/solutions.
A Sex Offender Registry that Maximizes Good and Minimizes Harm
Shelley Cook, Keith Instone, Stacy Surla
Facebook and Fake News
Arturo Perez, Amy Rosenthal, Carole Smith, Tim Whalen,
Kill 'Em Right - Building a system to carry out the death sentence in Texas
Dan Zollman, Jeff Pass,
Jason Hobbs, Andrea Resmini
The conference has a "Poster Night" allowing attendees to see work that has been accomplished by many practitioners. Roundtable participants from both Day 1 and Day 2 got to show off what they made... scenarios, a game, a rubric and a presentation. Fun was had by all.