For much of the history of the Web, conversations and other digital analogues of real world social interaction have been a key part of user engagement. From Usenet, IRC to AOL Chatrooms and now Github, Reddit, and Twitter, design patterns like threaded commenting, liking and favoriting, up (and down voting) lie at the heart of social media, online platforms like Stack Overflow (and GitHub) make up our communication tools. With digital literacy at an all time high, new communication models are starting to usurp SMS messages.
Digital interactions, so utterly commonplace, when given not much additional thought can seem overall benign. But in the era of the Arab Spring, the current US Election, Gamergate, and the Panama Papers, digital tools are the catalyst and common grounds of “robust discussions”. But do they really give rise to civil behavior, and benign outcomes? Or are they fundamentally problematic?
In this stand out presentation from our Direction conference in 2016, Caroline Sinders, machine-learning-design researcher and artist, asked “Can we design our way to better, more healthy online behavior? Can empathy really be designed for web?”
Address challenges like these at Design ’19
If these challenges interest you, start planning your trip to Design ’19, our product design conference, in Melbourne, April 11 & 12.
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