Values by Design Imaginaries: Exploring Values Work in UX Practice
Growing public discussions, regulations, and worker actions call for greater consideration of social values and ethics during technology development. Recognizing the prevalence of initiatives to address social values “by” design (such as privacy by design, security by design, and governance by design), this dissertation talk explores the relationships between design practices and social values.
This work uses speculative design — the creation of conceptual designs to generate reflection and discussion — in relation to social values in multiple ways, including provoking discussion, sparking reflection, and acting as a qualitative research method. This work also uses interviews and observations to study the tactics of North American user experience (UX) professionals who work at large technology companies and see addressing values as part of their work practice. They attend to values as a part of everyday UX work such as when designing interfaces or conducting user research. However, they also engage in activities aimed at shaping their organizations. They sometimes engage in tactics of soft resistance, seeking to subvert existing practices towards more values-conscious ends while maintaining legibility as conducting business-as-usual within the organization.
While not always successful, these practices attempt to promote an alternative configuration of doing technical design work that views technology workers as more cognizant, responsible, and empowered to identify and address issues of social values.
Richmond Wong is a postdoctoral researcher at the UC Berkeley Center for Long Term Cybersecurity. His research focuses on how technology professionals attend to and address ethical issues in their work. His research also aims to develop design-centered methods and approaches to proactively surface ethical issues related to technology (particularly those surrounding social values such as privacy and security). His work utilizes qualitative and design-based methods, drawing from human computer interaction, science & technology studies, and speculative and critical design.
Richmond completed his Ph.D. at the UC Berkeley School of Information, advised by Deirdre Mulligan, and did work as a part of the BioSense research group.
Richmond also conducts research on how new and emerging technologies are imagined through public discourse, cultural media, and policymaking processes. This work focuses on the ways in which these processes anticipate and speculate sociotechnical futures, and what the implications are for for design, social, and legal work in the present.
Before coming to Berkeley, Richmond graduated from Cornell University where he obtained bachelor's degrees in information science and in science & technology studies.