With great power comes great responsibility.
- Stan Lee
Stan's right. And behavioural scientists agree. Nudge in its nature is good. It shouldn’t be used to manipulate or coerce people. The same goes for the other behaviour design frameworks.
There is a problem in design. Over the years a culture of internet addiction, social gratification and dark patterns has emerged. When you start to use the power of behavioural science it's imperative you put people first, and only use it to improve their lives. To use this level of insight as a tool you need ethics.
A behavioural designer has an ethical responsibility to the user, and the other people impacted by their design choices. By looking at the systems that influence behaviour, they need to understand the potential negative impact on other groups and society.
The ethical rules of behavioural design:
Don't force or coerce people to do something they don’t want.
Don't make decisions for people. Give back the moment of choice for critical decisions.
Don't hide. Make interventions clear and transparent.
Don't mislead. Give people correct and accurate information so they can make an informed choice.
Don't disrespect. Be mindful of people's privacy, time and dignity.
Don't create dark patterns.
Don't focus on one person. Look at the impact of projects on other people and society.
Don't lock people into a new action or decision. Always offers other options.