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Four Design Ethics Links: May 25, 2011

Four Design (Ethics) Links is a review of the design- and ethics-related stories we've been reading online this week. This week: game design ethics, white hat SEO, facebook psychology, and startup web design.

1. Nevolution: This is a mental public health issue

Nevolution: This is a mental public health issue
Image credit: Daniel Neville

Daniel Neville has penned a thoughtful piece about the ethical implications of video games that manipulate us and how these mechanics are holding back the artistic potential of the medium.

…[G]ame designers are using evolutionary needs for rewards and goals to cheapen the game playing experience. If there were no golden coins to collect, or princesses to solve, would the game still be playable? [Braid designer Jonathan Blow] made a big point about comparing the simple and addictive (yet ultimately empty) rewards based system of World of Warcraft to gorging on fast food…Blow questions if game designers have been designing games to exploit the need for fitness indicators and affordances. Rewards can be like food (naturally beneficial) or like drugs (artificial stimuli and the illusion of fitness indicators), games over use the drugs because they don’t understand how to make a food.

2. White Hat SEO: It F@$#ing Works

White Hat SEO: It F@$#ing Works
Image credit: Rand Fishkin, SEOMoz

This is a fantastic, extensive article that neatly summarizes what White Hat SEO is, strategies for implementing it, and why hacking or gaming Google (Black Hat SEO) is a waste of your (or your client’s) time.

Unless your manager/company/client is wholly comfortable with the high, variable risk that comes with black hat SEO, you’d better stay clear. I’m also of the mind that there’s almost nothing black hat can accomplish that white hat can’t do better over the long run, while building far more value. Unless it’s “I want to rank in the top 5 for ‘buy viagra’ in the next 7 days,” you’d better explain that you’re recommending black hat primarily because you’re not smart, talented and creative enough to find a white hat strategy to do it.

3. Fast Company: Would You Like This Article More If You Had To “Like” It On Facebook Before Reading?

Spoiler-alert: according to this article, psychology says you might.

So was it ethical for The New Yorker to require readers to “Like” a recent article before reading it?

Like our blog to find out.

4. Crash Course: Design for Startups

Paul Stamatiou -- Crash Course: Design for Startups
Image by: Paul Stamatiou

If you’re a novice web designer or a DIY startup in a hurry, check this out. Self-proclaimed developer/startup guy Paul Stamatiou shares his process, tools, and inspiration for site design.

These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
NickMay 24, 2011

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