What would a manifesto for building ethical websites look like? I've thought about seven items so far:
- Empowerment over Enslavement: Remove the use of dark patterns to hook the user into doing less and becoming the product.
Examples: remove misleading newsletter registration settings, inform about addictive behaviors
- Community-first: Support the development of strong sustainable bonds between the users rather than ephemeral relationships. Use competition sporadically to inspire and create excitement.
Examples: add the possibility for users to interact with each other and outgrow the limits of the platform they are in, remove implicit power statuses
- Substance over Virality: Time is limited. Tech companies should be more mindful of that and actually deliver more signal than noise to their users.
Example: change propagation algorithms to actually reflect the interests of the user rather than what is viral (looking at you Facebook and Youtube)
- Privacy-focused: Ensure a strong emphasis on ethical privacy and data policies, in the best interests of your users.
Examples: don't sell data to third parties, don't extract data you don't need to serve your users
- Business transparency: Clearly and publicly state your business metrics and objectives. Develop systems for public accountability.
Example: Open Startup Movement
- Offline-first: Reduce your website's energy consumption by implementing offline-first principles.
Example: Progressive Web Apps
- Green hosting: Use web servers and cloud solutions powered by renewable energy.
Examples: A2Hosting, GreenGeeks
N.B: A philosophical question to answer later: Does every app deserve to be built?