Blogless: Blog of Design Less Better.

Posts tagged Design Ethics.

Belvedere Ad Jokes About Date Rape

Not funny (or clever).

From the BlogLESS department of ugh.

Belvedere Date Rape Ad

Of course, Belvedere is now sorry that you were offended.

Belvedere Date Rape Ad Apology

What a mess. (Via.)

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PaulMar 30, 2012
 

Apple: Make the iPhone 5 ethically

Now may be a good time to petition Apple to overhaul the way its suppliers treat their workers.

BlogLESS-readers-slash-Apple-product-owners: here's a chance to do your gadget-crazed bit for corporate responsibility. I quote in full below.

The iPhone factory?

Every day, tens of millions of people will swipe the screens of their iPhones to unlock them.

On the other side of the world, a young girl is also swiping those screens. In fact, every day, during her 12+ hour shifts, six days a week, she repetitively swipes tens of thousands of them. She spends those hours inhaling n-hexane, a potent neurotoxin used to clean iPhone glass, because it dries a few seconds faster than a safe alternative. After just a few years on the line, she will be fired because the neurological damage from the n-hexane and the repetitive stress injuries to her wrists and hands make her unable to continue performing up to standard.

Right now we have a huge opportunity as ethical consumers: The launch of the iPhone 5 later this year will be new Apple CEO Tim Cook’s first big product rollout, and he can’t afford for anything to go wrong — including negative publicity around how Apple’s suppliers treat their workers. That’s why we’re launching a campaign this week to get Apple to overhaul the way its suppliers treat their workers in time for the launch of the iPhone 5.

In many cases, people literally are dying while making Apple products. Reporters have documented cases of deadly explosions at iPad factories, and repeated instances of employees dying of exhaustion after working thirty to sixty hour shifts. In some of the factories Apple contracts with, so many employees have attempted suicide that management installed nets to prevent employees from dying while jumping off building ledges.

Can Apple do this? Absolutely. Apple is the richest company in the world, posting a profit margin for the last quarter of 42.4% yesterday. They’re sitting on $100 billion in the bank. According to an anonymous Apple executive quoted in the New York Times, all Apple has to do is demand it, and it’ll happen – “Suppliers would change everything tomorrow if Apple told them they didn’t have another choice.”

We, for one, think this kind of thing can make a difference. If you are like-minded, why not head on over and sign the petition?

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PaulFeb 10, 2012
 

Buy this. Look, you’re already wearing it!

Evan Selinger and Shaun Foster over at Slate have written a short meditation on some possible futures for personalized advertising, with some questions about their ethical upshots.

Putting the consumer in a cereal ad, by Evan Selinger and Shaun Foster
Putting the consumer in a cereal ad, by Evan Selinger and Shaun Foster

Imagine it’s the near future. You’re walking along a city street crowded with storefronts. As you walk past boutiques, cafes, and the Apple Store, your visage follows you. Thanks to advances in facial recognition and other technologies, behavioral marketers have developed the capacity to take your Facebook profile, transform it into a 3-D image, and insert it into ads. That sweater you’re eyeing? In the display, the mannequin wearing it takes on your face and shape. The screen showing a car commercial depicts you behind the wheel. At a travel agency (let’s pretend they still exist—after all, this is a thought experiment!), you see yourself sunning on a beach, while the real you is bundled up against the cold. The ads might show you with an attractive stranger or a lost love (after all, Facebook knows whom you used to date). Or they could contain scenes of you and your happy family. No longer do you have to picture yourself in the ad—technology has that covered.

How plausible is this scenario? What would it mean if it happened? How would it change the ethical landscape of advertising? Would anybody care? We advise you to read some thoughts on these and related questions by Evan Selinger and Shaun Foster.

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PaulJan 6, 2012
 

Where’s the Water?

A recent Good infographic called to mind one of DLB's perennial favorite candidates for good design, the status of clean drinking water.

Detail from Lack of Clean Water Access World Wide, GOOD Infographic

According to the United Nations, unsanitary water kills more people worldwide than war. As the precious water supply dwindles, it may prove to be more than just a crisis for developing countries.

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PaulJul 8, 2011
 

Ads Implant False Memories

Commercials might trick our brains into believing that the scene we just watched actually happened.

News on the cognitive science of advertising from The Frontal Cortex.

A new study, published in The Journal of Consumer Research suggests that vivid commercials trick the hippocampus into believing that the scene we just watched on television actually happened to us.

P is for Popcorn
Image via.

The experiment went like this: 100 undergraduates were introduced to a new popcorn product called “Orville Redenbacher’s Gourmet Fresh Microwave Popcorn.” (No such product exists, but that’s the point.) Then, the students were randomly assigned to various advertisement conditions. Some subjects viewed low-imagery text ads, which described the delicious taste of this new snack food. Others watched a high-imagery commercial, in which they watched all sorts of happy people enjoying this popcorn in their living room. After viewing the ads, the students were then assigned to one of two rooms. In one room, they were given an unrelated survey. In the other room, however, they were given a sample of this fictional new popcorn to taste. (A different Orville Redenbacher popcorn was actually used.)

One week later, all the subjects were quizzed about their memory of the product. Here’s where things get disturbing: While students who saw the low-imagery ad were extremely unlikely to report having tried the popcorn, those who watched the slick commercial were just as likely to have said they tried the popcorn as those who actually did. Furthermore, their ratings of the product were as favorable as those who sampled the salty, buttery treat. Most troubling, perhaps, is that these subjects were extremely confident in these made-up memories. The delusion felt true. They didn’t like the popcorn because they’d seen a good ad. They liked the popcorn because it was delicious.

Read more here.

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PaulJun 24, 2011
 

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.

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NickMay 24, 2011
 

Disfluency and Ethics

Difficult fonts make for better learning, researchers say. But is that really a good thing?

I was just designing something with a collaborator, and we came upon this debate: is it really "better" to make a flier harder to read in order to improve retention?

You've probably seen Princeton's recent study, which suggests that easy-to-read fonts actually make the content more difficult to remember than harder-to-read fonts. The idea is that when reading simple fonts, our brains oversimplify, we start to gloss over things, and we lose concentration. Are you still with me? So if we're reading a passage written in a font that's harder to decipher, the task feels more difficult (called disfluency) and we think harder about what we're doing.

This has interesting implications for designers and raises some questions about ethics. Back to the debate: by creating the flier, we're trying to do something good for the brand (have people remember the text, which is an announcement of a call for work) and trying to do something good for the user (help them remember the content of the flier). But in order to make it easier to remember, is it really ethical if you intentionally make the flier less user friendly? Or, do you go the Arial or Helvetica route, make it more boring, but more user friendly, while potentially less memorable?

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AndreaApr 25, 2011
 

Four Design Links:
March 25, 2011

Four Design Links is a review of the design- and ethics-related stories we've been reading online this week. This week: material shortages, the financial performance of ethical companies, a color picker app, and our favorite font gets professional.

1. Material Shortages and Designing a New Material World.

A fantastic interview with Michael Braungart of the Cradle to Cradle at core77 discusses the need for designers to develop a new understanding about the materials they use and the ways in which they use them. Braungart elaborates on the role designers play in industrial transformation with respect to material selection, and the importance of making choices that are sustainable, healthy, and socially conscious.

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AndreaMar 25, 2011
 
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