From human-centred to life-centred design: Considering environmental and ethical concerns in the design of interactive products

Elsevier, Journal of Responsible Technology, Volume 10, 2022, 100032
Madeleine Borthwick, Martin Tomitsch, Melinda Gaughwin

Over the past decades, the field of interaction design has shaped how people interact with digital technology, both through research and practice. Interaction designers adopted human-centred design to ensure that the interactive products they design meet the needs and desires of end consumers. However, there is surmounting evidence that placing the end consumer at the centre of the design process creates unintended consequences, damaging global systems that are essential to human well-being. This article reviews emerging paradigms that provide a more holistic perspective, such as value-sensitive design, more-than-human participation and life-centred design. Based on this review, the article introduces a practical framework for life-centred design consisting of principles, actionable methods and a model for responsible innovation. The article discusses how interaction designers can use the framework to balance human-centred considerations with environmental and ethical concerns when designing interactive products.