The UX Designer's Code of Conduct



I spent some time this morning studying Dark Patterns, and came across this article about establishing a Hippocratic Oath for Designers.

It got me thinking: if we were to make an ethical 10 commandments for UX designers as a sort of UX code of conduct, what commands would we include?


What an interesting topic. I can’t wait to see the answers.


I spent some time this weekend knocking around this idea in my head, and I have a few thoughts about what might be included.

###Make the World Better Whenever Possible…

The very fabric of UX culture is woven with service to other. Our foremost responsibility is to use our skills and knowledge to make the world a better place by making our interactions with the world as straight-forward as possible.

###…Or, at Least, Do No Harm

We can’t always be the savior that the world needs us to be. If we are unable to make the world a better, more usable place for all, it is our responsibility to resist changes that make it more difficult and confusing, and to present alternatives where they exist.

###We Will Not Fall Into Darkness

We will not implement dark patterns (designs that manipulate users into making decisions that are not in their informed interests).

###We Will Design Without Bias…

UX consultant Elizabeth Chesters said it well in last week’s UX chat on Twitter.

I've heard the rationale that users are going to do it anyway, so it might as well be a good experience#uxchat

— Elizabeth Chesters (@EChesters) August 24, 2017

In our work, our designs should be free from bias and judgement. We must design without bias…

###…or We Will Not Accept the Work

Some issues are too near and dear to our hearts to create truly unbiased designs. If we cannot complete the work in good conscious, we must decline the work.

###We Will Share Our Knowledge With The Community

This does not meant that we will give away trade secrets. It means that we will discuss concepts, theories, and feedback honestly and dispassionately with the community at large in the spirit of enhancing the community as a whole.

What do you think? Any changes to what I’m suggesting, or additions you’d like to see?


This is so important.

Just wanted to drop into the topic to say that I’ve been in about 10 times and gone to respond but haven’t got my thoughts clear yet. Great discussion – I’ll be back.


This crossed my desk today


Interesting article.

I think it’s a bit harsh to say that the industry is unethical. Actually, I’d say it’s really harsh.

It’s one thing to acknowledge the conundrum of design, it’s quite another to conclude that the dichotomy is ‘bad’.

The things those folks said reminded me of Don Norman’s statements.


Well that was a depressing read.

"Until we remove the paying client it will never change. Design is inherently an unethical industry.” – E.M. Cioran

I’ll agree that there is a fundamental disconnection between the ultimate goal of UX and that of the corporate world (help the customer vs. help the company). However, I don’t think these goals need be mutually exclusive, though it does frame our conversation in a less holistic light.


We will accept feedback with a smile and own it! :smile:

I’ve seen many PMs and Engineer folks simply throw out suggestions like why not keep the button below or change the colour. I think as a UX designer it becomes essential to accept feedback and criticism with grace and own it to explain them. In other words it is not PMs or Eng peopls job to understand UX but our responsibility to explain them the importance of the decisions we make (I’ve been lagging in this and need to improve in it though :wink:)