Links and Thinks: Webstock, Inclusive Design, and Dystopian (or Optimistic) Futures

19 February 2018

Kia ora koutou,

Webstock 2018 is the kind of event that gives me the inspiration and drive to keep working towards a better Internet. As a non-developer at a WebDev conference, some of the more technical talks can be lost on me, but this year there was a big focus on how inclusion, accessibility, and meaningful diversity can unlock the Internet's potential.

 

Webstock 2018: bringing inclusion and meaningful diversity to the forefront


Nat Dudley, Head of Design at https://figure.nz, promoted inclusive first design in her talk, 'Be Kind. Design'.

Inclusive first design is design that:

  • Enables equivalent access for everyone
  • Enables equivalent experience for everyone
  • Is safe for everyone

And it does it as a priority, not an after-thought.

I recommend reading the transcript (https://medium.com/@natdudley/be-kind-design-d28324b7c348), but the takeaway for me was that as a product developer, to give your users the most power and respect, only ask for information about them that you need to deliver the service they are signing up for. There are very few online services where knowing a legal name, or a gender, is absolutely crucial, so in the age of data leaks, why would a website want to hold any personal data on you that isn't crucial?

I'll note that this way of thinking will also help New Zealand companies prepare for the GDPR.

 

Zeynep Tufecki, Techno-sociologist, is someone the InternetNZ issues team is a huge fan of. She gave a talk on 'The Power of Business Models and Algorithms' which, as well as exploring her own experiences as a Turkish woman in America:

  • showed how anticapitalist dissent can be co-opted for marketing purposes
  • broke down the illusion that token diversity inside a company or structure is enough to create meaningful change
  • illustrated how between its reach and its data insight, Facebook wields enough power to sway an election if it chose.

Zeynep also has a great Ted Talk you can check out here: 'We're building a dystopia just to make people click on ads'

Once you've had your fill of dystopian ad filled futures, you can check out:

 

A game of two halves: Chrome's new Ad Filter

Google has turned on an automatic ad blocker in its popular Chrome browser.

The good news! This filter will block many malicious ads that currently drive you up the wall like these below:

Description of ads blocked by Googles new tool

 

The bad news? Due to Google's market saturation, this move may drive more companies to rely on Google's own ad serving services rather than enabling third party ad companies to compete. We've linked to two articles below that articulate the positive, negative and benign effects of this move by Google:

 

 

That's it from us today, have a great week, and be sure to check out the Digital Nations conference (click for livestream) which is happening in Auckland over the next two days, and our own Optimistic Futures event (registrations still open here) which is this Wednesday 21st February.