The Trouble Diamond

Addressing double diamond weaknesses

A big part of design ethics is to engage in identifying possible outcomes of our actions that can be harmful to select people, or planet. The earlier we can do this, the better. And it’s also something that can never stop.

Two diamonds side-by-side (entitled The Trouble Diamond) and four questions, outlined in the blog post.
The Trouble Diamond. Download as a PDF or high-resolution image.

The 4 questions in The Trouble Diamond

There is one question for each of the stages in the traditional double diamond of design.

Discovery question: Who are we not talking to?

Who we interview, observe, pose questions to and decide to listen to varies with project intent, time and budget. When deciding to talk to someone we are always deciding that there is someone else we do not talk to, consciously or not.

Definition question: What needs did we not understand?

Two people with different experiences looking at the same data may see and interpret different things. It’s said that data doesn’t lie. But humans are quite capable of misunderstanding it, skewing it and applying their own biases to it.

Development question: What did we fail to communicate?

As a project progresses, more and more people tend to get involved. We now have the added complexity of communication. I myself may understand how and why a design should be implemented, but other people I rely on for that implementation may not.

Delivery question: Who are we not including?

Projects prioritise, make assumptions and reward speed. When products and features are to be released, decisions have to be made about costs, what to eliminate, what to push to the next release and who gets the final word.

How to get started

Do share The Trouble Diamond and this post, and talk about it with people you feel safe talking to. How do you feel about it? What emotions does it trigger? Are these concerns being managed today? If not, why not?

Further reading

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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

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Per Axbom

Per Axbom

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