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Making tech safe and compassionate through design, coaching and teaching. Independent consultant. Co-host of UX Podcast. Primary publication: axbom.com

I love a good meme and have been looking through many of the different versions of the “Types of Scientific Paper” meme on Twitter. Not a single one I’ve come across has had an image description in the form of ALT (alternative) text. Unfortunately this is really common when it comes to image-based memes, and renders them inaccessible to a great number of people.

I know it’s far from common knowledge how to add descriptive text to images on Twitter. I’m not putting blame on anyone. I do, however, see this as an opportunity to share knowledge on accessible images…


Political philosopher Dr Annette Zimmermann published a very piercing cartoon on Twitter. It is a pastiche of the XKCD cartoon Types of Scientific Paper, and creatively reimagines titles of papers that expose flawed thinking around AI Ethics that we come across in the industry on day-to-day basis.

I have provided an image description for the image below to make the content available for more people.

Types of Ethics Paper. Image described in post below.
Types of Ethics Paper. Image described in post below.

Image description

Twelve imagined research paper headlines placed in a 3x4 grid, sketched in the form of symbolic cover pages.

The image title is: Types of AI Ethics Paper

In order from left to right, row by…


Cartoon image with man looking at a phone, a woman cycling, and a superimpose image of a phone showing a map of where the woman is cycling. A hand holding an Apple Airtag is visible above the scene.
Cartoon image with man looking at a phone, a woman cycling, and a superimpose image of a phone showing a map of where the woman is cycling. A hand holding an Apple Airtag is visible above the scene.

This week, Apple launched a new physical product aimed at keeping track of your belongings: AirTag. These are small round tiles that you can attach to keys, bags and vehicles, allowing you to see where they are on a map. They also introduce a risk for people who are targets of domestic abuse.

In a time where men’s violence against women must remain front and center in debate and legislation, it is important to shine a light on how new technology opens new doorways to terror and violence.

Apple’s AirTag documentation does display obvious attempts at addressing the risks, while…


I’ve been working for some months on this chart as a summary of the many ways digital holds potential for negative impact. Alongside the chart I’ve provided a brief summary of the meaning of the currently six sections and 32 elements.

I am not an opponent of digital. I am a proponent of responsible innovation. To make responsible choices you need to understand what could go wrong. The chart is not meant to dissuade but rather to make aware and encourage more careful and considered choices in a digital world. …


Once we recognise digital harm as a form of abuse it becomes clear how the same patterns of victim-blaming that we see in all abusive relationships tend to be repeated.

– This article was originally published on axbom.blog.

One of the most common rebuttals I hear when talking about harmful design is the idea that “people can just leave if they don’t like it”. This follows a similar pattern to all abusive relationships where one party is exerting power over a trapped victim. To outsiders without personal experience, just opening the door and walking out — or clicking “delete account” — may seem deceptively simple.

Thankfully, there is now extensive research telling us why people do not leave abusive relationships, research we can choose to learn from. Alarmingly, it appears…


A rarely talked about field of research, known as keystroke dynamics, involves identifying individuals based on how they type on a keyboard. It’s getting better, and also easier for anyone to implement.

Originally published on axbom.blog on November 30, 2020.

As early as 1860, experienced telegraph operators realized they could actually recognize each individual by everyone’s unique tapping rhythm. To the trained ear, the soft tip-tap of every operator could be as recognizable as the spoken voice of a family member.

In World War II military intelligence used a methodology known as “Fist of the Sender” to identify unique way of keying in a message’s “dots” and “dashes” in Morse code. It was used to distinguish friend from foe. …


A tool for thinking holistically about digital ethics when planning coursework and writing.

Originally published on axbom.blog on July 12, 2020.

This mindmap is a work in progress. It helps me create the syllabus for my course Ethics in Design, as well as outline corporate workshops. It helps to draw from when I’m preparing talks and lectures. It reminds me of the complexity of the system, but also of why it matters to work intentionally with Digital Ethics today.

Maybe it can be of help to you as well.


A look at how vulnerable children are abused to serve the requirements of a world dependent on technology.

“ First published in the Ethical.net magazine and on axbom.blog

When I look at my phone I think about slavery. I think about modern day slavery, perpetuated by the wealth and power that historic slavery facilitated. I think about how invisible it is despite modern day access to information and education. And despite all the many examples of injustice exposed thanks to tech. Here’s the thing: Slaves don’t have access to a school system that can teach or empower them to speak up. Slaves don’t own smartphones. Slaves are just one part of how smartphones come to exist.

Frédéric was…


To allow as many people as possible to participate and benefit from an event, there are many things to consider. It’s no surprise then that organizers often miss details that can help people feel welcome and seen, and that could make or break their ability to take part in the experience.

Too often it falls upon those who are already vulnerable, sidestepped, and with permanent or temporary needs for specific considerations, to fight for their own rights. …


The idea of addiction to new technology often leads to polarized debates. In this post I bring attention to both perspectives and ask the question: does it matter how many people are being hurt?

Ever more often I see people arguing about whether or not tech addiction is a real problem. On one side of the aisle, tech addiction is just alarmism or a disinformation campaign. At the other end, the media loves pushing big headlines on how our devices have us hooked to various online services. I believe it would be helpful to take a step back and ask ourselves what we are really talking about when this topic comes up: human beings experiencing distress.

Getting real about the word addiction — a word that itself carries many different connotations for different people…

Per Axbom

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