Design Cognition, Ethics, and Criticality

A deep appreciation for design theory and philosophy drives our research into what makes designers “tick.” We ask deep questions about how designers think and act, taking on a critical theory lens to explore dimensions of social and ethical responsibility in design practice.

Our recent work, funded by National Science Foundation Grant No. 1657310, is focused on how awareness of “dark patterns” of UX might lead to a more ethically- and socially-responsible UX practice. We are currently investigating dark patterns and ethical concerns through a practice-led approach, building a corpus of practitioner-identified examples of dark patterns, conducting studies of practitioner interactions in relation to ethics, and studying ethically-related discourses of practitioners in online spaces. In addition, we plan to study UX design students conceptualization and activation of ethical concerns, and the perspective of end users in relation to dark patterns.

Relevant Publications

Gray, C. M. (in press). Revealing Students’ Ethical Awareness During Problem Framing. International Journal of Art & Design Education, XX(X), XXX-XXX.

Chivukula, S. S., Brier, J., & Gray, C. M. (2018). Dark Intentions or Persuasion? UX Designers’ Activation of Stakeholder and User Values. In DIS’18 Companion: ACM Conference on Designing Interactive Systems (pp. 87-91)New York, NY: ACM Press.

Fansher, M., Chivukula, S. S., & Gray, C. M. (2018). #darkpatterns: UX Practitioner Conversations About Ethical Design. In CHI EA ’18: CHI’18 Extended Abstracts on Human Factors in Computing Systems (Paper No. LBW082). New York, NY: ACM Press.

Gray, C. M., Kou, Y., Battles, B., Hoggatt, J., & Toombs, A. L. (2018). The Dark (Patterns) Side of UX Design. In CHI’18: Proceedings of the 2018 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (Paper No. 534). New York, NY: ACM Press.

Gray, C. M., & Boling, E. (2017). Designers’ Articulation and Activation of Instrumental Design Judgments in Cross-Cultural User Research. Codesign XX(X), XXX-XXX.

Gray, C. M., & Boling, E. (2016). Inscribing Ethics and Values in Designs for Learning: A Problematic. Educational Technology Research & Development, 64(5), 969-1001.

Gray, C. M., & Boling, E. (2016, November). Designers’ Articulation and Activation of Instrumental Design Judgments in Cross-Cultural User Research. In DTRS’11: 11th annual Design Thinking Research Symposium. Copenhagen, DK: Copenhagen Business School. [pdfpresentation]

Gray, C. M., Seifert, C. M., Yilmaz, S., Daly, S. R., & Gonzalez, R. (2016). What is the Content of “Design Thinking”? Design Heuristics as Conceptual Repertoire. International Journal of Engineering Education, 32(3B), 1349-1355.

Gray, C. M. (2016, June). What is the Nature and Intended Use of Design Methods?. In Proceedings of the Design Research Society. Brighton, UK: Design Research Society.

Gray, C. M., El Debs, L. d.C., Exter, M., & Krause, T. S. (2016, June). Instructional Strategies for Incorporating Empathy in Transdisciplinary Technology Education. In Proceedings of the ASEE Annual Conference, Engineering Ethics Division. Washington, DC: ASEE. [Nominated for Best Diversity Paper]

Gray, C. M., Yilmaz, S., Daly, S. R., Seifert, C. M., & Gonzalez, R. (2015, June). Idea Generation Through Empathy: Reimagining the ‘Cognitive Walkthrough’. In Proceedings of the ASEE Annual Conference, Design in Engineering Education Division (pp. 26.871.1-26.871.29). Washington, DC: ASEE.