2021 Theme – Design of Our Online World

2021 Theme

Design of Our Online World: Trust, Ethics and Integrity

In a short span of 30 years, the Internet has transformed our lives and reduced the world to a global village. From work meetings to medical appointments, many of our daily activities have turned virtual. We are now faced with the challenges of designing for our online world:

– How do we create trust in the online environment?
– What are the ethical implications of our designs?
– How do we design for accessibility, to ensure that everyone can use our designs?

In our theme this year, we seek to explore online design systems that are helping us stay connected, learn and grow in these transformational times. Through this theme, we aim to address important issues such as Dark patterns and Ethical design, Designing for Trust, and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.


Since the COVID-19 pandemic, telemedicine has allowed healthcare providers to treat patients while practicing social distancing. Designing telemedicine platforms entails multiple challenges: onboarding new patients to make them feel comfortable using video consultations, mirroring the in-person experience virtually, and helping doctors develop a personal connection with their patients.

Docdot, an AI-assisted application developed by SDG Group, allows doctors to remotely diagnose and monitor Covid-19 symptoms. The application uses light signal processing and AI technologies to convert light reflected from blood vessels in the patients’ face into real time vital sign measurements. The application has been designed to work for people of all ages, and requires patients to look at the camera and answer a few questions. Docdot lets doctors check the test results, and video call their patients for follow up.

Educational Tools

Teacher’s Assistant Bot (TAB), the winner of World Usability Day 2020 Design Challenge, is a concept for an AI bot that assists in virtual learning. In the virtual learning environment, it is a challenge for students to stay focused in class, and for teachers to engage in regular feedback and dialogue. Students are often put into breakout rooms with no teacher guidance. TAB engages students in breakout rooms with short, gamified lessons, allowing teachers to jump from room to room while the bot ensures that the students are focused and engaged in the topic. 

Designing for trust

Uber relies heavily upon trust between strangers, and ensures that passengers feel safe through features such as live tracking of a journey and driver ratings. The driver profiles, which contain fun facts, languages spoken, compliments, etc. help create more trust and form a connection with the driver.

Designing for Accessibility

Amazon has developed a feature for its Echo Show devices which helps blind and visually impaired users. Using computer vision and machine learning technologies, Amazon Echo Show devices will be able to identify items that users hold in front of the camera. Amazon has indicated that this feature was created, developed and tested by collaborating with their employees who are blind, and with the Vista Center for the Blind.