A Book Apart

Eva PenzeyMoog Design for Safety

If abuse is possible, it’s only a matter of time until it happens. There is no might. So let’s build better, safer digital products from the start.

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“How will our product hurt people?” As web workers, we don’t often ask this question—but we should. Too often, we design for idealized circumstances, even though our users bring a range of complicated personal dynamics to every interaction. When we fail to explicitly design for vulnerable users, we unintentionally prioritize their abusers.

Eva PenzeyMoog explains how even the most well-intentioned design can be weaponized for interpersonal harm. Through poignant, all-too-common examples, Eva demonstrates how to identify a design’s potential for abuse, how to avoid and mitigate the damage, and how to bake safety into every step of the design process. We can’t build good digital products unless we recognize that our users’ safety, and lives, are at stake.

This book explores:

  • Who is at risk when we don’t design for safety
  • How household devices can be manipulated for abuse
  • Centering vulnerable communities in research, prototyping, and testing
  • Using design thinking to avoid continuing patterns of oppression

Design for Safety is essential reading for ethical design. It provides a powerful rationale for technologists to consider their role in enabling or preventing abuse and domestic violence through everyday tech.

Molly Dragiewicz
Associate professor of criminology and criminal justice at Griffith University
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 This is, frankly, an important book—not only for developers of technology, but for anyone interested in victim advocacy and support. Eva expertly outlines the technical threat and its impact on users, while offering practical approaches toward improving both safety and usability.

Chris Cox
Director of Operation Safe Escape
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 Whatever you’re making, it’s not as safe as you think. Fortunately, Eva PenzyMoog is here to guide you through the process of making your work safer for your users and for the world at large with this clear and accessible book. I know I’ll return to it, and cite it, for years to come.

Eric Meyer
Author of Design for Real Life
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Eva PenzeyMoog

About the Author

Eva PenzeyMoog is a user experience and safety designer and founder of The Inclusive Safety Project. Before joining the tech field, she worked in the nonprofit space and volunteered as a domestic violence educator and rape crisis counselor. Her safety design work brings together her expertise in domestic violence and tech, helping technologists understand how their creations facilitate interpersonal harm and how to prevent it through intentionally prioritizing the most vulnerable users. She works to make designing for safety the norm and to inspire fellow technologists to transform the tech industry into one that prioritizes safety, justice, and compassion.

Product Details

  • ISBN: 978-1-952616-09-9
  • Paperback: 143 pages
  • Published: Aug 3, 2021

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