Web design Ethics

Creating a website for someone is a powerful statement. By creating an internet presence for a person or a company I am in a very real sense promoting them and their product or service. It should go without saying (though for some designers it doesn’t) that there is an ethical aspect to accepting a web design project.

I am not a desperate or starving web developer, but even if I was, there are certain moral lines which I have drawn in the sand which I will not cross under any circumstances. These lines are based on my personal ethics, and they aren’t taken from any one religion or doctrine in particular.

I am posting this list as a point of reference so that I don’t have to explain myself over and over. I have turned down many a project over the years, and I am sure there will be others.

Ethical Rule #1:
I won’t create any site directly promoting any product, service, or organization directly involved in the torture, killing, or exploitation of human or non-human animals. This by inference includes weapons manufacturers, the meat industry, the fur industry, pornographic sites, companies who outsource to third world sweat shops etc…

Ethical Rule #2:
I won’t work for any company that has been shown to willingly destroy the environment for profit.

Ethical Rule #3:
I won’t build a site that promotes policies or philosophies that I feel lead humanity deeper into ignorance. I reserve the right to turn down trashy tv show producers, gangster rappers (at least the ones that promote violence and sexism), and cult leaders who claim to be the next incarnation of Maitreya, or Jesus or whatever. You get the point.

This is by no means an exhaustive list but it covers the essence of what is ethically important for me. You might think it is an incomplete list, or that the list has elements that shouldn’t be there. If so that is just an indication that we are coming from a different perspective on life. Everyone should have a line in the sand, if everyone did the world would be a much better place.