Ethical Hci In Designing Web Applications Computer Science Essay

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The aim of this survey is to briefly discuss ethics in computing in context of HCI, describe how computer ethics relates to HCI design of a web application. This review will also discuss the ethical issues faced by users while interacting with the system, highlight the importance of ethical HCI in the design of web application and subsequently re-evaluate HCI design principles and guidelines for designing interactive systems.


There is an actual reason beneath practical and professionalism which involves anyone in the aspect of design, maintenance and the use of information system needs to have an understanding of ethical issues surrounding there daily activities. Kallman and Grillo (1996, P.3) conveys that, ethics deals with creation of a well principled choice between challenging options, in the easiest moral problem; ethics has to do with what is right or wrong. Computing has advanced to the point where it has paradigm and techniques which, if ingrained, would decrease the likelihood of many computing failure. It is therefore essential to understand the concept of ethics in relation to computing and its implications, Bynum and Rogerson (2004, P.17); Bynum defines computer ethics as the process of identifying and analyzing the impact on of IT on societal and individual worthiness which comprises of physical condition, affluence, chance, liberty, equality, education, rights, safety self accomplishment. This definition was further enhanced by Moor (Weckert 2007, P.31) who is of the opinion that computer ethics is the examination of natural world and communal impact of IT and its corresponding formulation and justification of policies for ethical use of technology. Therefore, there is a vast distinction amid regular ethics and ethics in computer and information technology, as such; there is a vast difference between interacting with computer and interacting with human. HCI, also known to as human computer interaction is a multi-disciplinary part of interaction design that compact with the development, assessment and performance of interactive systems for users, through studying the main trend adjoining them (Preece, Rogers and Sharp 2004, P.8). HCI as a branch of interaction design specifically deals with users and how they interact with computers; it involves designing of an interface to be effective, efficient, consistent, flexible, easy and enjoyably usable. However, Dix, Finlay, Abowd and Beale (2004, P.4) are of the opinion that HCI is the development, implementation and assessment of systems in context of users job and effort. Users communicate with the system (Web application) using a graphical user interface (GUI). Interface design involves come set of principles and guidelines ethically to simplify the interaction between users and computer.


Being able to impact HCI ethically is not so surprising. HCI ethically refers to the normative science that aims to improve usability (Cairns and Thimbley, P.3). In relating HCI to ethics, we will focus on the ethical issues in HCI for disabled users. Large users living in a country that is developed have straight or not direct dealings with computers in various ways. Moreover, various tasks that cannot be simply done without information systems are longing to depend on IT. Another increased complexity was the developments of technology often create fewer obtainable systems prior to the previous ones. For example, judge the situation of user interfaces (GUI). Some years back, visually impaired users are using ordinary systems modified voice output. Nonetheless, the scientific development made personal computers as well as workstations graphic wise. Likewise, the interactive technique amid these technology is base on optical objects (such as window explorer, the icons, menu list, and many more) used with pointing device, like the mouse that enables the user to select a text or an object, and the position of the cursor will be difficult to find unlike the keyboard. To simplify this difficulty, numerous researchers dedicated huge attempt to interpret and change the overview of graphical user interfaces to an alternative media (Abascal and Nicolle 2007).

Researches on HCI have critically being improved nowadays, there are several outcomes for this improvement: the need for reaching a larger market, furthermore, Abascal and Nicolle (2005 P. 488) emphasizes the circulation of individual computing among many users, the need for additional ergonomic information systems and many more. As an outcome, assorted procedures and equipments have been design, to which a number of them improved an ideal quality to design an interactive system to disabled users.


One of the largely motivating aids is the understandable partition of application and interface levels, as such; applications functioning on the system program will not be dependant on other devices and other interactive processes. In this way, HCI professionals are capable of designing an application that does not depend on interfaces that correspond, likewise, with the application with the help of a clearly explained process and beside, it also correspond with the users, Abascal and Nicolle (2005 P. 488). Hence, designers can develop an interactive system that meets the needs of the user without altering the application.

However, Abascal and Nicolle (2005 P. 488) also suggested that, if there are no dependency between the application and the interactive system while developing the interface, it is very suitable for disabled users. Prior to the wide range of outstanding aptitude that needs consideration on the interaction; a great number of diverse interface are essential to offer comprehensive user needs. However, if the interface and the application are not depending on one another, different interfaces can cope with same application, prior on user needs. It also promotes multitasking between the interfaces.

The HCI rules has developed guidelines, techniques and equipments which ease the development of more efficient interfaces improved to adapt to user plan. For instance, doing a task analysis and designing case study, highlighting their incidence of happenings, their complexity and significance to the user. Therefore, it is also advisable to urge computer developers to be proactive in respect of disabled users. Therefore developing systems for disabled users is simpler from the initial steps and computers are developed bearing in mind where it is going to be used (with disabled users) by means of various interfaces. However, present investigation as well as proposal on comprehensive development in broad will be informative pattern to developers.

HCI helps in designing interface for all sets of users with some set of principles and guidelines, these principles are proposed by famous authors of interactive design, there are many sets of heuristics, but the most used are the Nielson’s heuristics, Shneiderman’s rules and Norman’s principles. But, the heuristics are to be used in evaluation and will therefore not be discussed.


To progress on the usability of an application, it is essential to have a well developed interface and these golden rules are maintained to be a lead to high-quality interactive design, Dix, Finlay, Abowd and Beale(2004, P.283) discussed the convention of interface design proposed by Ben Shneiderman:

Developers should struggle for consistent interface

Facilitate users to use shortcuts

Provide feedback that is explanatory

Design dialog to yield shutting down

Provide straightforward and easy error control

Allow easy setback of activities

Maintain inner locus of control

Deduce short-term memory overload

Design rules in form of standards and guidelines enhances easy to learn and consistent design, in a concrete manner, in order to boast the features of interactive systems Dix, Finlay, Abowd and Beale (2004, P.258) suggested that, the conventions and principles are broadly useful and their application will help most design projects. Norma’s principles also provides crucial abstract of his user- centred design idea, these includes:

Using knowledge acquired and the one in the mind

Simplify the task organization

Make things (components) visible

Acquire the mappings accurately

Exploit the power of constraint

Develop interface that prune for error

If there is a breakdown, standardize.

Dix, Finlay, Abowd and Beale (2004, P.259)

The ethics of HCI is arguably important in both aspect of usability and design of an interface. Moreover the failure to deliver a standardized and simplified interface to promote good usability and interaction is unethical, even in computing (Bynum and Rogerson 2004, P.17).

Therefore, Harper and Yesilada (2008) concludes, web accessibility implores imagination of designers and experts in IT as well as researchers, bravely making the web open to disabled users. They also, highlighted two perfecting objectives which include: the reverse engineering and design rediscovery and the discovery and understanding of factors which impact the user-friendliness of web within the notion of HCI.


The Internet offer disabled users plentiful tools to use without help. Conveniently, users can access a huge amount of resources, an electronic community, up to date highlights on the disability support news, online classes and shopping for educational materials, clothing, proactive skill, and a massive amount of other end user products (Ritchie and Blanck 2003).

Developments in HCI permit obstacles tends conquer accessibility to information, resulting in enhanced contact by disabled users, significantly enhancing their socialized chances. Some issues been acquired in communal addition has already been noticed, and the need comprehensive design rule has been accessed thoroughly, so that interactive developers can gain effective lead and guide to evade jeopardise that are unethical, Abascal and Nicolle (2005 P. 488). However, IT and philosophical trends helps to evade the discrepancies that will lead to social amalgamation.

Furthermore, it is of utmost significance to note how HCI plays a vital role in attaining a specified user defined goals and objectives that yields advanced and qualitative evolution in the competitive market, but, it unable to make manufacturing industries to developed a comprehensive and socialised tools and technologies. This inadequacy can only be hindered by perfecting legal protection, standardization and international relations.