The push to redefine “good design” amid the Black Lives Matter movement

In 2015, Nextdoor, the location-based social networking app, gained a reputation as a locus of racial profiling. Users were sending alerts for merely spotting hoodie-wearing Black men walking in their neighborhoods. One damning report described Nextdoor as “a forum for paranoid racialism—the equivalent of the nosy Neighborhood Watch appointee in a gated community.”

In studying the problem, Nextdoor realized that its easy-to-use app was partly to blame.

Creating intuitive, easy-to-use products and interfaces is the domain of user experience designers. Don’t Make Me Think is both the title of a core textbook in the field and many designers’ professional mantra. An approach called “anticipatory design” even takes the virtue of speed to the extreme, promising a system so seamless that consumers never have to make a single choice.

But the very features that are meant to make technology easier and faster to navigate—like shortcuts and auto-complete functions—can

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The story behind ‘Stay Home, Protect the NHS, Save Lives’

A NHS signage about coronavirus advice people to "Stay home. Save lives" is displayed on the advertising boards at Piccadilly Circus in London - The story behind 'Stay Home, Protect the NHS, Save Lives' - GETTY IMAGES
A NHS signage about coronavirus advice people to “Stay home. Save lives” is displayed on the advertising boards at Piccadilly Circus in London – The story behind ‘Stay Home, Protect the NHS, Save Lives’ – GETTY IMAGES

The Government’s messaging during the coronavirus crisis must rank as one of the most successful communications in modern political history. Only the Thatcher administration’s “Don’t die of ignorance” public health campaign in the 1980s about the Aids virus outbreak has come close.

But how did it come about? And more importantly given its success how will the Government convince people that it is now safe to start to venture out of doors in coming weeks?

The genesis of the message can be traced to a Zoom conference call convened by Lee Cain, Boris Johnson’s director of communications, on the afternoon of Thursday 19 March, just as the Government was moving towards imposing the

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