Design for Safety
foreword by Coraline Ada Ehmke
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