Good Design Is Honest
This is one of Rams’s tenets, but it bears repeating at a time when dark patterns abound and corporations treat UX like a weapon. Uber is the most flagrant example. The company built its business on a seamless front-end user experience (hail a ride, without ever pulling out your wallet!) while playing puppet master with both users and drivers. The company’s fall from grace–culminating in CEO Travis Kalanick’s ousting last year–underscores the shortsightedness of this approach.
Good design “does not make a product more innovative, powerful or valuable than it really is,” Rams writes. “It does not attempt to manipulate the consumer with promises that cannot be kept.”
Lots to think about and absorb going into 2018.
If one meets a powerful person -- Rupert Murdoch, perhaps, or Joe Stalin or Hitler -- one can ask five questions:
- What power do you have?
- Where did you get it?
- In whose interests do you exercise it?
- To whom are you accountable?
- And, how can we get rid of you?
Denizens of the Net are choosing sides. To my dismay, Amazon and eBay’s PayPal have decided that they are on the Net but not of the Net. When it comes down to it, they have decided they don’t really care for the Internet all that much, except as a low-friction cash register. How we would have rejoiced if Amazon and eBay had stood up to those who want to stop the flow of information that they don’t like. Instead they folded.
Telephones were invented for speaking, and cars were invented for driving, but the Internet was not invented for any single use. That is the source of its value, and certainly of its economic value. It’s why we need to preserve Net neutrality.
It’s very rare I have a WTF moment, but this just blew me away!
So they passed the Digital Economy Bill during "Wash Up" – by the way, has there ever been a more ridiculous yet apt name for a political process? – riding roughshod over democracy and ignoring the flaws in the bill that were repeatedly pointed out to them (I won't repeat them here, but instead point you towards Steve Lawson's excellent round up).
So where do we go from here?
We keep on fighting. This is being called the first "social media election", so let's turn our gaze to the election process and our future elected representatives.
Register to vote
This is the most important. If you're not registered you can't vote.
Research your constituency
Who is your current MP, How strong is their position? Are you in a marginal seat, who are the candidates, where do they stand? Were they implicated during the expenses scandal?
Sign up with Democracy Club
Democracy club is a non-party-political group of volunteers that want to hold candidates to account and motivate the public to get involved with the political process. You'll be emailed small tasks like describing local issues or photographing campaign leaflets. You'll be helping to build a resource of accountability.
Organisations such as the Open Rights Group and MySociety campaign on our behalf and build the tools we use to track what's happening in the labyrinthian world of politics. Give them some money so they can continue their good work.
Write to your MP
Ask them how they feel about one of the most important bills in the last decade being forced through Parliament in just a couple of days with little-to-no scrutiny. Ask them whether they turned up to the debate, if not, why not? Be polite.
After recent events it would be easy to give up on the political process, but this is exactly the time to get more involved. Let's show them the power of the network.
Update: There's lots of good conversation and formulating of plans under the #Debill tag on Twitter.
As was once said...
Given enough eyes all bugs are shallow
... and when we're talking about DRM, it is most definitely a bug.
Update (2nd May): Interesting developments overnight. Turns out Digg was removing posted stories about the HD-DVD key, that of course triggered a user revolt, and now Digg has changed it's position. Heh.
I debated about adding the 'funny' tag to the original post, and in the end decided not to. Events last night have made me change my mind.
It is becoming unprecedentedly difficult for anyone, anyone at all, to keep a secret. In the age of the leak and the blog, of evidence extraction and link discovery, truths will either out or be outed, later if not sooner. This is something I would bring to the attention of every diplomat, politician and corporate leader: the future, eventually, will find you out. The future, wielding unimaginable tools of transparency, will have its way with you. In the end, you will be seen to have done that which you did.
William Gibson - June 25, 2003