A workshop based on Sara’s 2017 book, Technically Wrong: Sexist Apps, Biased Algorithms, and Other Threats of Toxic Tech
Most products are designed with good intentions—to be welcoming, seamless, and maybe even fun to use. Yet too often, they instead launch with features that are alienating, harmful, or biased: “smart scales” that assume everyone wants to lose weight, form fields that fail for queer people, image-recognition algorithms that don’t work for people of color.
As tech becomes increasingly central to our users’ days—and intertwined with their most intimate lives—we have more responsibility than ever to consider who could be harmed or left out by our decisions.
In this workshop, we’ll break down why and how tech products go wrong, look at the risks within our own products, and uncover the company priorities and cultural assumptions that stand in the way of change. Then, we’ll talk about what we can do about it: how we can change not just interfaces or datasets, but how we approach our team structures, run our projects, and live out our values at work.
What we’ll do
- Draft strategic principles for designing experiences that are inclusive and ethical
- Evaluate your company’s decision-making model, design process, roles, and workflows against those principles
- Define what needs to change to create the infrastructure for inclusive design
- Learn practical techniques for uncovering assumptions and strengthening your design choices—whether you’re designing content, interactions, or algorithms
- Practice having the difficult conversations needed to convince your organization to pursue a more ethical and inclusive way forward
- Hands-on activities and discussions, resulting in draft principles and action items your team can use
- Worksheets and techniques you can bring into your workflows
- Copies of Technically Wrong and/or Design for Real Life for your team
- Follow-up notes and call with your team to synthesize the results and discuss next steps