App Values

As I’m starting to take ClimbChat more & more seriously I catch myself thinking about my values as a developer & climber.

One thing I like about climbers is their approach to ethics. Both to climbing itself: a climb isn’t done until all moves are done free and on lead. And to the climbing environment: climbers tend to be good about leaving no trace & respecting the natural environment they play in.

Software development is going through a bit of an ethical crisis right now. Let’s call it growing up. We’re realising that we’re an industry dominated mostly by entitled white males from first-world countries creating software with often undesirable side-effects.

The software industry is riddled with privacy, security & social issues. Far too often we’re building crappy adware-infested apps draining our users’ batteries while simultaneously delivering questionable value and selling out their privacy.

I started to ask myself questions. What is it I want to do? What do I want to build? What do I want to avoid? I came up with a set of questions I ask myself while developing to guide my choices.

Is is good? Quality is important. Life is too short for junk apps. I want to create the kind of app that delights yet fades into the background to allow the user to focus on what they really want to do: to climb!

Is it simple? Simple things are hard to make. They take more effort from the developer. But it’s worth going that extra mile. Because simpler things are better for the user. Easier to understand and trust. Easier to use.

Does it harm? I don’t want to harm the user. This means respecting their privacy and security. This means not building an overly addictive app. This means building an app respectful of their battery life. This means not harming them as a climber by teaching injury-prone exercises. I don’t want to harm the environment.

Tags: philosophy 
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