Interaction 19
4-10 February 2019
Seattle, WA
United States

Manage misusability: design for digital with a conscience

workshop – Half day (4h) | Feb 5 – 14:00

Incorporate an ethical framework in your current design process and feel immensely better about the work you do.

In this workshop I want to show how you can incorporate ethics thinking into your current design process in a very practical way. The session will also assist understanding and awareness of the problem area and create an open environment where everyone can share their fears and experiences.

In exercises I will use two templates that participants may download for free and start using immediately in their design practice:

  • A model for impact risk assessment. This is used to consider and resolve negative impact before it happens. The matrix will encourage you to imagine user scenarios that may otherwise have been ignored and make design decisions that minimize negative impact.

  • A canvas for mapping inclusion / exclusion is used to bring awareness to teams, organizations and leadership about the potential harmful effects of a digital solution. It is used to gain support for an ethical mindset that will both prevent and help manage negative impact when it happens.

As part of the workshop you will also practice the counter-intuitive activity of adding friction to design interfaces. This is a fun, engaging exercise that may challenge your core beliefs as a designer.

You will be happy to learn that as a designer you are already well equipped for ethics thinking; often you just have to be ready to tweak the work you already do.


  • Lecture part 1: Concept of misusability and negative impact (15 mins)
  • Exercise 1: Interviews in teams of 3 with a focus on “how are you harmed by digital solutions” (20 mins)
  • Lecture part 2: Risk assessment (10 mins)
  • Exercise 2: Risk assessment using a template with a given use-case (25 mins)
  • Lecture part 3: Designing with friction (10 mins) BREAK (20 mins)
  • Exercise 3: Adding friction to a design (25 mins)
  • Lecture part 4: Promote misusability awareness in an organization (15 mins)
  • Exercise 4: Mapping inclusion / exclusion (20 mins)
  • Takeaways, question time (10 mins)

More than 50% hands-on.

Target audience

This workshop is for anyone working with digital design or development who is struggling with a cognitive dissonance of doing it the right way but not always doing what’s right.

It’s for anyone who wants to feel more at ease knowing they are doing what they can to reduce and manage negative impact.

Everyone on a digital project team will benefit from understanding how we can stop, listen and consciously consider negative impact in a more structured manner.

About the speaker

Per Axbom

Per Axbom

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