Designing for Safety: Key Considerations

Sep 22, 2021 · McLean, United States of America

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After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting. The virtual event will begin at 7:00pm ET.

TRIGGER WARNING: This presentation includes discussion around topics such as sexual assault, domestic violence, and physical violence. NoVA UX acknowledges that this content may be difficult and encourages our members to care for their safety and well-being.

“How will our products harm people?” As tech workers, we don’t often ask this question—but we should. Too often, we design for an ideal circumstance that doesn’t account for the complicated personal dynamics our users bring to the table, including dangerous lived realities such as domestic violence. And when we fail to design for our most at-risk users, we end up unintentionally prioritizing their abusers. In this talk, Eva will show how every day tech can easily be weaponized for abuse, and how to prevent and mitigate that harm through a specific design strategy of prioritizing our most vulnerable users.

There are no silver bullets when it comes to designing for safety, but knowing and understanding of some of our most common blind spots as designers helps. This brief talk covers the domestic violence threat model as well as specific areas of concern, including trouble with shared accounts, Internet-connected harm, location data, and surveillance. We'll also discuss what designers can learn about authentic consent from the anti-sexual assault space. Finally, the audience will walk away with a high-level overview of implementing a practice of designing for safety into their everyday work.

Eva PenzeyMoog

Eva is the founder of The Inclusive Safety Project ( and author of Design for Safety (, which is now available from publisher A Book Apart. She is a principal designer at 8th Light (, where she designs and builds custom software and consults on safe and inclusive design strategy.

Her work focuses on making tech safer by prioritizing the most vulnerable. Tech is weaponized for interpersonal harm, including domestic violence, elder abuse, and invasive surveillance of children. Designers and other technologists don't have to be complicit in this weaponization; we can prevent it and give power back to survivors through intentional design strategy.

Dozens of examples of how tech is misused for violence, solutions for prevention, and details about incorporating a practice of designing for safety are covered in Design for Safety. In the meantime, check out The Inclusive Safety Project ( for resources and recordings of Eva’s conference talk on the subject.

If you want to support Eva in this work, please visit her Patreon page at

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  • NoVA UX

    Are you passionate about creating great online and mobile user experiences? If you're based in Northern Virginia or the DC metro area come join us to participate in talks about user experience design and networking opportunities. Meetups are held at various locations throughout Northern Virginia. Twitter: LinkedIn: Facebook: YouTube:

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