Keeping Up Appearances
The past two years I’ve been struggling to stay in touch with people, work colleagues and friends. My unease over global and local uncertainties, big life decisions and a string of illness and health issues in my close network of familiars caused me to turn inwards. In a big way. As an introvert I replenish in solitude and my craving for solitude avalanched.
From afar it’s likely unnoticeable. I keep doing the podcast, publishing my blog posts, posting on LinkedIn, and going through the motions of running a business. But business as usual often does a rather poor job of surfacing the complexities, agonies and bumblings that happen in our parallell existence.
I imagine those who have tried to contact with me will feel a hint of recognition. E-mails will have gone unanswered, as will have phone calls. One friend finally wrote and asked if they had done something wrong.
This was clearly a cautionary signal.
No, I responded. You have done nothing wrong. All these things have been going on and my thumb physically refuses to push the green button when your call comes in. My capacity for meaningful interaction beyond a handful of close friends just ran out and I didn’t know how to find it again.
I am starting to find it again.
Seeing, acknowledging, understanding. All part of taking the first few steps from A towards B. Even when B still feels distant. And how wonderful isn’t it to know there are friends who will be happy to see you no matter how many years have gone by. Who are okay with slow. Who are okay with awkward smiles and stretches of silence.
When teaching digital ethics I always try to convey this overarching idea of not knowing how people are doing, where they are in their lives and what their capacity for taking action to protect themselves looks like. They may not know themselves.
For myself it has proven valuable to assume everyone is going through some or many complex ordeals below the surface. Emotionally taxing stuff in layers and knots. Stuff they may not want you to know. That might sound trivial to you but is a horror for them. That they can not articulate or need time to just digest.
The ability to shift perspective can be healing. It can help me resist anger in the face of upsetting behavior. It can help me accept differing perspectives as equally founded in learning and experience as my own. It can help me forgive my own missteps and injurious actions.
But not always.
In the end we all loose our footing from time to time. Hopefully people will notice one way or another. And offer a possible, but not mandatory, boost. Yet in our own willingness to help it’s important to remember people may need time and space to sit for a while before we rush to pull them up into busy traffic again.
Take care of you, wherever you are,
Design for universal wellbeing
Why I avoid the term human-centric and what I mean by universal wellbeing.
Consent for recording meetings
Things to keep in mind when recording digital meetings. Consent is often requested far too late.
CEO-splaining the Rogan deal to Spotify employees
Is Spotify’s CEO expressing the values of the company as he addresses employee concerns over Rogan controversy?
CEO-splaining to Spotify employees part 2: the memo
The memo sent to Spotify employees over the weekend raises new questions.
Their Bionic Eyes Are Now Obsolete and Unsupported - IEEE Spectrum
These early adopters found out what happened when a cutting-edge marvel became an obsolete gadget… inside their bodies.
Facial Recognition Failures Are Locking People Out of Unemployment Systems
ID.me’s CEO says unemployment fraud is costing taxpayers $400 billion, but his own company is denying claims because of problems with its tech, users say.
Physiognomy’s New Clothes.
by Blaise Agüera y Arcasas, Margaret Mitchell and Alexander TodorovDeep learning is a powerful tool for analyzing human judgments to unmask prejudice. When models are trained on biased data, then called “objective”, the result can be a new kind of scientific racism.
Google Analytics, Compliance and Recent GDPR Rulings
With the recent “Austrian ruling” sending shockwaves around the online world, whats actually changed with GDPR Law? As a data manager, what do you need to know, and what are the implications for your data collection strategy? The jigsaw effect of collecting anonymous data.
‘All those agencies failed us’: inside the terrifying downfall of Boeing
In the damning new Netflix documentary Downfall: The Case Against Boeing, the errors and oversights that led to two crashes are examined.
We’ve released two podcasts recently that deserve your attention, touching on the reality of designers when their organisations respond to trauma, and the reality of older adults in a tech-powered world.
#281 Organisational trauma with Vivianne Castillo - UX Podcast
We talk to Vivianne Castillo about organisational trauma and the ways organisations respond to it, presented as “playbooks”.
#282 Older adults and tech with Carolyn Wilson-Nash - UX Podcast
We talk to Carolyn Wilson-Nash about technology paradoxes and the coping strategies of older adults in relation to technology.
Valuable accessibility guidance
A brilliant free resource hub by Alexa Heinrich for marketers, communication professionals, and digital creators who want to learn how to make accessible social media content.
Continuous Professional Learning
In case you’re not aware, I run the design ethics track in the Ambition Empower program. Big news of the month is that UX Podcast is also partnering with Ambition Empower. This means our shows will be recorded in front of a live audience. Anyone who is signed up to Ambition Empower can join in and listen as we record shows with insightful people from the industry, getting the raw behind-the-scenes unedited experience before the episodes are released. The subscription also gives full, year-long(!) access to learning tracks on several topics, run by design leaders Kim Goodwin, Susan Weinschenk and Chris Noessel, with more on the way.
Read more about Ambition Empower and use the discount code “uxpodcast” to get 1000 SEK off when you sign up.
I released this flowchart alongside my book in 2019 but haven’t really put effort into promoting it. Perhaps it can bring some insights.
Flowchart: Manage impact in design
The flowchart on managing impact is intended to give you an overview of the elements that help you avoid and mitigate negative impact in digital design. It likely makes sense for more design situations than digital ones.
Svenska / In Swedish
Risker med QR-koder
En allmän varning om hur QR-koder kan användas för att lura in människor på skadliga webbsidor. Sprid gärna för att påminna både organisationer och individer om att iaktta mer försiktighet när man scannar koder.
Samtycke om att spela in mötet
Att tänka på vid inspelning av digitala möten. Många frågar för sent.
Den tredje webben, av tante
Jag har översatt en populär text om Web3 och dess utmaningar, författad av tante – en tysk utvecklare som för fram stark kritik. tante har bland annat varit rådgivare åt Förbundsdagen i det här ämnet.
Kritik mot Sveriges Digitala Agenda, ett embryo av kritik är äntligen här! – Dynamisk IKT
Dynamisk IKT har återkommande kritiserat Sveriges Digitala Agenda i bloggen. De flesta som arbetar inom offentlig sektor ha nog hört till leda att “Sverige ska bli bäst i världen på att använda digitaliseringens möjligheter”, vilket är agendas övergripande målsättning. Det har nästintill varit en röd tråd i bloggen att kritisera den agendan.
Get Per's newsletter
Per Axbom's newsletter on digital ethics and compassionate design helps you stay updated on human rights issues in the tech space. You will receive select posts in your inbox 2-3 times per month.
Become a Key Supporter
If you wish to support Per's efforts in writing and teaching on digital ethics and wellbeing in tech, you can become a key supporter and donate monthly.
For one-time donations you can use Swish (in Sweden) or PayPal.