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A Hippocratic Oath for User Experience Designers

I have made some slight adjustments to the Hippocratic Oath, the ethical code of conduct for medical doctors, in order to serve as a vow for user experience practitioners.

Please join me in reciting this oath and pledging to uphold the principles defined herein.

The UX Hippocratic Oath

I swear to fulfill, to the best of my ability and judgment, this commitment:

I will respect the hard-won product innovations and thought leadership of those designers in whose steps I walk, and gladly share such knowledge as is mine with those who are to follow.

I will apply, for the benefit of the user, all measures that are required, avoiding those twin traps of overindulgence and corporate oppression.

I will remember that there is art to experience design as well as science, and that warmth, sympathy, and understanding may outweigh the information architect’s taxonomies or the interaction designer’s wireframes.

I will not be ashamed to say “I know not,” nor will I fail to call in my colleagues when the skills of another are required to meet a user’s need.

I will respect the privacy of my users, for their information is not disclosed to me that the world may know. Most especially must I tread with care in matters of utility and interference. If it is given me to eliminate a task, all thanks. But it may also be within my power to eliminate a comfort; this awesome responsibility must be faced with great humbleness and awareness of my own bias. Above all, I must not assume the user is like me.

I will remember that I do not treat a web form, a social networking site, but a vulnerable human being, whose one wrong click may affect the person’s friends and economic stability. My responsibility includes these related problems, if I am to care adequately for the user.

I will prevent errors whenever I can, for prevention is preferable to recovery.

I will remember that I remain a member of society, with special obligations to all my fellow human beings, those sound of mind and body as well as those requiring assistive technologies.

If I do not violate this oath, may I enjoy life and art, respected while I live and remembered with affection thereafter. May I always act so as to preserve the finest traditions of my calling and may I long experience the joy of delighting those who use my designs.

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