moonfacedigital / ethical-design-guidelines

A list of practices to protect the humanity of the web🧍❤

Geek Repo:Geek Repo

Github PK Tool:Github PK Tool

Ethical Design Guidelines

A list of practices to protect the humanity of the web🧍

Why this project?

Protecting human interaction on the web is our No.1 priority. In an age where many feel addicted to the web it is important to set some ground rules to ensure humans are protected when it comes to design. When we create your project at Moonface, these are the guidelines we follow to make sure that your site is built for humans.

Contributions via PRs and issues are encouraged.


  1. Cookies
  2. Tracking
  3. Advertisments
  4. Content
  5. Addiction
  6. Human Harrassment
  7. Ethical design badge
  8. Contributing


  • Ensure your cookies message is clearly visible
  • Do not obstruct content
  • Do not attempt to deceive the human into accepting cookies, describe exactly what they are and what they do
  • Do not attempt to hide the "Do not accept" button with font-size nor color
  • Link to your privacy policy on the cookies banner


  • Allow the human to decide if tracking is enabled, perhaps in the same banner as a cookies message
  • Obey doNotTrack
  • Do not use default social media "share" buttons, design your own or have them load only after the human presses "share"


  • Do not use advertisements that pretend to be recommended articles.
  • Do not use advertisements that pretend to be a "download" button
  • Do not use advertisements that mimic site content
  • Do not use popup or pop-under advertisements.


  • Do not prevent humans with ad-blockers from using your website. Instead, provide an alternative such as a donation link or simply recommending the human to whitelist your site in a popup
  • Do not use fullscreen popups to display this message
  • In your popup, you may add a message that promises your website does not use obtrusive advertisements


  • Do not hide important information with font-size nor color
  • Do not give advice that could harm the human without warning them of any potential dangers
  • Do not sell any misleading products
  • Do not spread misinformation that could harm the human


  • Avoid displaying repetitive content that is short and captivating
  • Use an indicator to inform the human when they are caught up to prevent stop zombie scrolling
  • Do not autoplay videos as this does not allow the human to make a concious decision
  • Do not use The Infinite Scroll

Case Study: Infinite Scroll

The Infinite Scroll is a common component in the most popular apps. It can be summarized as new content loading as soon as the human reaches the bottom of the page. Infinite Scroll has a huge impact on the humans ability to break away from the content and will lead to what is commonly called "zombie scrolling".

Case Study: TikTok

TikTok has a lot of information. Having access to relevant information can improve decision making. This is why new and relevant information are rewards for our brain.

Rewards are treated in the mid brain with a dopamine response just as an intake of foods high in sugar, fat and salt is. This is both true for the consumption, but also for the anticipation of such a reward. Interestingly, TikTok’s information is presented in a 15 second form.

This means that although the human does get well-recommended stimulating information, It is unlikely that meaningful content can be adequately displayed in such a short amount of time. It is simply difficult to convey adequately the view that you represent so quickly with such limited engagement.

This makes the platform more susceptible to the kinds of expected stimulus seen in addiction.

Human harrassment

  • Do not pressure the human into buying a product by displaying a "left in stock.. order soon" nor "100 people are currently viewing this product" message
  • Do not guilt trip the human into disabling their ad-blocker
  • Do not display messages when the human is trying to leave the site nor when doing an action that is not wanted

Case Study: Itchpet

Itchpet's website features a popup that displays when the human moves their mouse to close the tab. This is clearly in direct violation to the human's want to leave the site and can be easily to compared to you wanting to leave someone's house and them blocking the door begging if you would stay for another cup of tea.

It is so important for sites to respect the human and their actions on the site. Displaying messages when the human tries to leave the site is wholly unacceptable.

A display of Itchpet's intrusive popup:

ezgif com-gif-maker

Ethical design badge

Sites that conform to all of the above are entitled to use this badge in their site documentation.

ethical design
<a href="">
<img src="" target="_blank" alt="ethical design" width="" height="35px">


If you would like to challenge any of these practices then please open an issue.

If you would like to add to our guidelines then please make a PR request.



A list of practices to protect the humanity of the web🧍❤