Nikki Singletary

Full Stack Meets Empathy

As a full-stack web developer over the past 10+ years, putting the user first has always been a goal of mine. As technologists, it is our duty to ensure our solutions aren't causing harm to our end users.

It starts with us, and it starts with empathy.

Full Stack Meets Empathy...

Over the past 10+ years as a web developer, I've learned about the importance of User Experience when creating user interfaces. A subtopic that I found intriguing within User Experience, which I believe deserves more attention from developers, is ethical design.

Striving for ethical and empathic digital solutions.

Alan Cooper, the Godfather of Visual Basic, writes,

“The software products we create have the power to bring people together for good, but when the driving force behind their creation is primarily money and not the benefit of the entire society, it’s all too easy for those powerful products to slide across the line.”

Taken from his article, “What’s Going On Here?”, Cooper discusses his keynote from UX Lisbon, which I attended in 2016. It was a call to action to urge developers to make ethical decisions as we continue developing technologies that force us to question if the products are in the end-user’s best interest.

My responsibility to influence change

Cooper’s keynote instilled a passion for protecting end-users and ensuring that I, as a developer, am creating efficient, effective, and empathic experiences. I find myself with this strong urge to discard the drone-like notion of merely pushing out code when instead, I should question the ethical implications of the product.

My M.P.S. in UX Design from MICA has allowed me to fine-tune skills to arm me with empirical knowledge of how humans interact with technology based on scientific analysis through real-world case studies.

I strive to be a responsible web developer by preventing harmful user experiences before writing the first line of code.

I will take my strengths in UX to promote empathetic and ethical design decisions as I see fit, for this is my responsibility as a developer.

Alan Cooper giving his keynote, Ranch Stories, at UXLx in Lisbon, Portugal