The week in quotes (2019W07)

Sebastian Greger

It’s the weekend again, time to press “publish” on some of the quotes I jotted down this week:

A Tweet by Evgeny Morozov

The real end of history is when the choice is between counting on ethical AI to protect us from unethical capitalism and counting on ethical capitalism to protect us from unethical AI.

In “Cyberpunk Standards”, Jon Camfield proposes new standards for personal and assistive technology:

If you want there to be a market to tap into human conscienceness, you have to start now at re-building trust with consumers — and bind yourself through transparent processes, legally, and technically — to be responsible with what data is gathered, how it is gathered and used, and an aggressive embrace and support of open technologies to ensure long-term functionality, support, and unfettered access, ownership, and a real ability to transition to alternate, competitive platforms.

Heydon Pickering’s advice on Twitter:

Build a UI like you’d build a plane. Make sure it’s robust before you worry about the seat cover design.

On A List Apart, Eric Bailey presents a thorough backgrounder on all those features that browsers have built-in for universal accessibility, yet some designers love to override:

Every adjustment to the appearance and behavior of the features browsers let you manipulate is a roll of the dice, gambling on the delight of some at the expense of alienating others.

While altering the powerful, assistive technology-friendly features of browsers can enhance the experience for some users, it carries a great risk of alienating others if changes are made with ignorance about exactly how much will be affected.

Remember that this is all in the service of what ultimately matters: creating robust experiences that allow people to successfully use your website or web app regardless of their ability or circumstance. Sometimes the best strategy is to let things be.

Eric Eggert tweeting (+ thread) a compact list of seven most common accessibility issues on websites:

  1. Colors not contrasting enough

  2. Images not described correctly

  3. Buttons not keyboard accessible

  4. Link text unclear

  5. Animation cannot be stopped

  6. Form fields not labelled

  7. Captions not available

The Guardian summarizes a groud-breaking study on insects and natures’ collapse:

“Unless we change our ways of producing food, insects as a whole will go down the path of extinction in a few decades,” they write. “The repercussions this will have for the planet’s ecosystems are catastrophic to say the least.”

The 2.5% rate of annual loss over the last 25-30 years is “shocking”, Sánchez-Bayo told the Guardian: “It is very rapid. In 10 years you will have a quarter less, in 50 years only half left and in 100 years you will have none.”

Ehrlich praised the review, saying: “It is extraordinary to have gone through all those studies and analysed them as well as they have.” He said the particularly large declines in aquatic insects were striking. “But they don’t mention that it is human overpopulation and overconsumption that is driving all the things [eradicating insects], including climate change,” he said.

A (more or less) weekly collection of inspiring, surprising or otherwise noteworthy texts, talks and podcasts. Usually around my core topics of usability, ethics, and digital society. Previous issues in the archive.

I'm Sebastian, Sociologist and Interaction Designer. This journal is mostly about bringing toge­ther social science and design for inclusive, privacy-focused, and sustainable "human-first" digital strategies. I also tend to a "digital garden" with carefully curated resources.

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