10 Principles of Ethical Design

Ethical Design

Sometimes designers forget about the interests of users and focus on the benefits of the company for which they are building a website. Because of this, potential customers have doubts about the honesty of the web resource.

If you want to prevent this and create a trustworthy website, follow these ten simple yet important principles from the leading designers.

Let’s have a look at the principles that professional UX consulting companies use to design ethical products.

1. Ask for permission

Most companies, instead of asking the user for permission to perform any action, are simply beginning to collect information about the user and their location, invite friends on their behalf or publish posts on their profile without notifying them.

This is not a good idea because this behavior can easily destroy a website’s reputation. You should not ask permission stealthily, and it is better to make a request directly. Thus, the agreed user will not have any complaints, and the company will show that they are not uninterested in customers’ preferences. 

2. Send notifications

Almost all companies allow you to sign up for a free trial subscription, but only a few give notice of its end. They do this in the hope that people will simply forget about the trial period, and money will be automatically debited from them.

Such action – or rather inaction – raises doubts about the integrity of the company. Therefore, it is better to send a letter about the end of the trial version a few days before. For example, Netflix and other major streaming services do this.

3. Highlight negative aspects

It is unethical to keep silent about the shortcomings of a product or service. In order to prevent the audience from having a false idea of ​​the company, it is better to highlight the cons. When deciding whether to purchase a product or subscribe, the client will be aware of all aspects.

4. Fair price

Many companies try to cheat by setting a minimum offer price on the website without including taxes and other additional costs, attracting customers. After the purchase, they find out that the product costs tens of times more than the initial price, so they feel disappointed about this company.

If you want to increase audience loyalty, it is better to indicate an honest price and immediately include there:

  • taxes;
  • fees;
  • delivery.

This way, the client will not be confused when he finds out the final price.

5. Impressions are more important than profit

If several proposals will bring profit to the company and the other will delight the client, it is better to choose the second. It will not allow you to make money faster, but it will show the user that he is critical. As a result, you will acquire a loyal customer who will stay with you for a long time, much better than instant profit.

6. Stop sending spam

Nobody likes spam. It is seldom that such types of emails work much worse than other advertising, and the budget for them can be higher. Therefore, it is better to send clients only essential information that will interest them.

If the user did not perform the targeted action after receiving the letter, it is better to exclude him from the mailing list. A person will feel that each client is essential to the company and that it follows his preferences.

7. Make it easier to unsubscribe

Some users do not even suspect that they can unsubscribe from the mailing list. Others don’t, because, to cancel receiving the letters, they need to call the operator and fill out many forms.

Do you want the user to be comfortable? Let him unsubscribe with a simple click of a button.

8. Stop choosing for users

In questionnaires and electronic contracts, some items are selected automatically, and in most cases, the option that is convenient for the company is automatically set. As a result, many people forget to uncheck the box or change the option because of which their expectations do not coincide with reality, so they are disappointed in the product.

It’s easy to avoid this. Just stop making choices for your users, or only tick the boxes under the beneficial options. Otherwise, they will be shocked when they receive newsletters from you that they did not subscribe to.

9. Transparent policy

Stop deceiving users and specify detailed information only in the Privacy Policy – documents are rarely read. It is better to let you know about essential aspects right away. Trying to hide something causes mistrust.

10. Honest offers

Many websites lure visitors by persuading them to buy goods for a promotion that will end soon, and after placing an order, users will find out that the discount will last another week.


Stay honest with your customers and never try to attract them with false promises. Otherwise, you will quickly lose trust. A good relationship with users is a core principle of ethical design. Honesty attracts loyal customers.

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