Designing With Addiction’s In Mind

Through facilitating this exercise in ethics I was able to cultivate an understanding of my small design team. I posed questions for discussion to identify addictions people have faced in their personal life. We talked about spending too much time on instagram, to stalking ex boyfriends, to smoking. I strived to construct a discussion that highlighted personal experience to addictive behaviors that are implemented in services we use throughout our daily lives. We talked about overcoming our own addictions with things and feeling good about them, behaviors that had been construct that weren’t conducive to our well being, ultimately realized, and later deconstructed to live a healthier and happier life. Unfortunately we can’t always remove the addictive patterns engrained in our phone applications and other services that we use to make our lives easier.

We talked about establishing our values as a team to design for good. We created a discussion around self-awareness, meaningful connections, and good health. Self awareness brought people time and control of their day. Meaningful connections meant not swiping left and right on an app that claims to be designed to meet people, but to have a pleasant interaction while waiting in line. A healthier and happier life meant being able to go for a run and breathe clearly, instead of itching for something that does you more harm than good.

We brought our discussion towards prevalent services and organizations that capitalize from addictive behaviors. I posed two questions after developing our set of values the first was “Why Do Users Come To The Product Or Service In The First Place? followed by “How Can We Change an Organization’s Value?”. It’s easy to highlight the things that are wrong on an individual level, but putting minds together to work towards an actionable goal is far more beneficial in the design process. We brainstormed and white boarded through a myriad of solution spaces. Something that came to mind was changing the revenue stream or model of these services to better provide for their users. To developing check-in boxes in opposition to infinite play loops on video websites.

I hope to add more visual cues to explain my facilitation process in the coming days, but I truly found identifying with my team to have been extremely important in further the discussion around a hard topic. Addiction’s are tough, no matter what they are. It became clear and important that it’s important to recognize our own in order to better benefit the services and things we’re designing for.