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User Experience Designer

Do No Harm in Design.

"Do No Harm" is a principle in design that emphasizes the importance of considering the potential impact of a design on its users and on society as a whole. The principle is derived from the medical profession's Hippocratic Oath, which includes the phrase "First, do no harm."


Image credit : ZHIRCEKE Sculpture Abstract Statues for Home Decor

Social, DEI and political

With great power, comes great responsibility.

As designers in the present-day world, we hold the power to generate commodities or services that have the potential to modify behavior, generate dependency, stimulate mindfulness, and much more. Consequently, we need to ascertain the potential risks associated with the products that we fashion!


In design, the "Do No Harm" principle means that designers should prioritize the safety, well-being, and dignity of the users and stakeholders affected by their designs. This includes considering the potential social, environmental, and ethical implications of a design, as well as any unintended consequences that may arise.

In the example below, McDonald's came up with an eco-friendly approach for straws that are made of paper instead of plastic to reduce the environmental impact. Although, in vain! Only if they had looked into the impact of this from multiple lenses they would have known that these cannot be recycled! Yes, you read it correctly these paper straws cannot be recycled. 

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McDonald's new paper straws - described as "eco-friendly" by the US fast food giant - cannot be recycled.

What is "Do No Harm in Design ?"

Let's say a company is designing a new app that will allow users to track their fitness goals and connect with other users who share similar interests. To ensure that the app follows the "Do No Harm" framework, the designers and developers might consider the following:

  1. Ethical considerations: The app should be designed with the goal of helping users improve their health and fitness, without exploiting or manipulating them in any way. The app should also be transparent about how user data will be collected and used.

  2. Accessibility: The app should be designed to be accessible to users of all abilities, with features such as voice commands or text-to-speech options for users who are visually impaired or have limited mobility.

  3. Privacy and security: The app should prioritize user privacy and security, with measures such as end-to-end encryption and clear user consent for data collection and sharing.

  4. Inclusivity and diversity: The app should be designed to be inclusive and respectful of different cultures, beliefs, and identities, with features such as gender-neutral language and diverse representation in marketing materials.

  5. Sustainability: The app should be designed to be eco-friendly and minimize its impact on the environment, with measures such as energy-efficient design and responsible sourcing of materials.

By considering these principles and incorporating them into the design and development process, the company could ensure that the app follows the "Do No Harm" framework and creates a product that prioritizes the well-being of users and society as a whole.

What can we do about this as designers and how?

In a short exploration of 30 days, we came up with a explorative framework that designers can use to ask the right questions and look at their project from different lenses.   

Hey there, good catch!


The images are indeed blurred at the moment. While I can't spill all the beans about our framework yet, as it's still in the launching phase, I'd be more than happy to connect with you and discuss it further.

Let's chat and I'll give you the inside scoop when the time is right!

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