Our Principles

These principles guide and inform the commitment of Shapiro Design Lab staff, time, labor, and resources. We will review these principles every year and make thoughtful and transparent changes when needed.

Diversity, equity, and inclusion. We commit to prioritizing, as within our power, initiatives and projects that work toward ensuring just, equitable, and inclusive outcomes. Work done by the Design Lab should not cause harm in areas in which we have control, but understand that this is not always possible. If harm does occur, we commit to mitigating the harm caused.

Antiracism. We commit to supporting projects that use ethical approaches and do not further perpetuate harm on communities disproportionately affected by historic and systemic racism and neglect. If harm does occur, we commit to mitigating the harm caused.

Accessibility. We commit to principles of disability justice and to affirming the value of disability culture. We commit to supporting projects and technologies that use ethical, accessible approaches and do not further harm or exclude disabled individuals or communities, neurodivergent individuals and communities, or those who may not identify as disabled. When we make use of a tool, technology, or platform, we will assess its accessibility, plan for alternative equitable access, and advocate for improved accessibility where needed.

Transparency and openness. We commit to making our processes transparent and legible, and to provide proper attribution and acknowledgement. We will follow best practices for collaboration and hiring, by sharing our documentation and providing opportunities for feedback. Where possible, we will use open standards, tools, and review processes to promote sustainability and access.

Care and consent. Informed by the Consentful Tech project, we commit to an opt-in model. Staff may choose to work on projects, and staff may decline if they don't have the capacity or see the work as harmful. We commit to equitable and inclusive labor practices, research methods, and distribution of time and resources within the Design Lab.

Partnership. We commit to being a partner in University research, learning, and teaching processes. This includes leveraging the resources of the U-M Library and the University of Michigan, while also recognizing that there are limits to individual and organizational capacity.

If you think something is missing from these principles, or that we have fallen short of them in some way, please let us know at shapirodesignlab@umich.edu.