ah teaches web design & development (The Grey Zone lecture)

The Grey Zone

Lecture outline

Ethics, web design and development. Lecture slides will be made available on the day of the lecture (July 5).

The gray zone

Today's lecture is a bit different.

P3: Portfolio

Web Ethics

We are considering the ethics — the morality, or duty and obligations — associated with different issues on the web, and how they might relate to our work as designers or developers.


Many of the questions today are not binaries of right or wrong. They are complex, and we want to make sure we understand how others may perceive these issues as much as we understand how we perceive them.

Today's Guidelines

Given we will be talking about topics that you may feel passionately about, we have a couple guidelines to ensure our discussion does not veer off course too much:

Today's Format

We will work with a bit of a different format today. Please form up into groups of three or four to facilitate discussion of the quotes/questions.

Today we will be focusing on privacy and copyright.


What do we need to consider as web designers and developers?

Access to data

Even if we are not collecting the data ourselves, we have access to a wealth of data about our users.

We can seek permission

Terms and conditions are typically where we ask for permission to collect data, but how many of us read this?

Privacy inequality
Privacy and legality
Privacy and control

For Each Prompt

Please do the following for each prompt:

  1. Read the questions.
  2. Clarify any questions you have with myself or your TA.
  3. Discuss the question and note some answers to the questions.
  4. We will then regroup and discuss together.


As a designer or developer, some questions:

There are 8 minutes left.

Questions about privacy

I realize this approach may not have 'answered' the questions you posed in my ask for 'themes', so do you have any other lingering questions about privacy online?

I cannot promise the answers, but I can try and fill in some gaps.

The web is open

"The original design specification of the first browser actually had an HTML editor built into it. So, you could clone page, edit it, and post it in one go using the browser ... [a] completely logical step that once you had the Web, you would add copyright to it, and use it as the primary regulating framework."

Cory Doctorow (The Machine Without the Factory, 2020)

View source

Keep in mind that anyone can view the source code of your webpage. Consider what information you share unencrypted in there: "Missouri teachers' Social Security numbers at risk on state agency's website."

Choose a license

When code is licensed

You need to pay attention to how code is licensed if you claim your own writes over the code: "Trump's social network has 30 days to stop breaking the rules of its software license."

Coding Quiz

We will be holding the coding quiz during our lecture time on July 12.

For the quiz you will be presented with a difficult web layout to replicate. Replicating it will only require that you use HTML and CSS. There are two parts to this quiz:

  1. Proposing two means of replicating the design (worth 7/10 points)
  2. Replicating the design using one of those methods (worth 3/10 points)

Coding Quiz

For proposing a means of replication we suggest taking up to 60 minutes to propose two means of replicating the design.

You will be graded on quality — would it work, do you use the right terms, do you show an understanding of terms?

This will be worth 7 of 10 points. Part marks are possible.

Coding Quiz

For replicating the design we suggest taking up to 30 minutes replicate the design itself using one of the approaches you proposed and HTML and CSS.

This portion will be graded on code validity and solution completeness.

This will be worth 3 of 10 points. Part marks are possible.

What do I review for the quiz?

I highly recommend reviewing anything we have covered with regards to web layout — i.e. grids, old float grids, flexbox, positioning, responsiveness, units — in preparation for the quiz.

Coding quiz rules and requirements

Coding quiz exercise

What if I cannot attend?

If you have any concerns about being able to attend, please contact Andrew before the lecture. We will arrange another time to have you complete the quiz.