Laura Kalbag (UK)

Designer & accessibility expert

Talk: Disruptive Design: Harmful Patterns and Bad Practice

On stage:

Why does every app use the similar interactions? Why does every homepage look so similar? Often we find ourselves using particular design patterns because other organisations use them. We assume they’ve done the research, and these patterns can be our shortcut to success. But what if those patterns actually cause harm? What if they have a negative effect on the inclusivity and accessibility of our designs?

In this talk, Laura will examine and challenge design patterns we use in the industry today, along with the assumptions and practices behind them. Let’s work to do better, and have a positive impact with what we create.


Laura Kalbag is a British designer living in Ireland, and author of Accessibility For Everyone from A Book Apart. She’s co-founder of a tiny two-person not-for-profit working for social justice in the digital networked age. At, Laura follows the Ethical Design Manifesto, and works on a web privacy tool called Better Blocker, and initiatives to create a federated personal web where everyone owns and controls their own piece of the internet.

On an average day, Laura does everything from design and development, learning how to run a sustainable social enterprise, and trying to make privacy, and broader ethics in technology, accessible to a wide audience. You can find her making design decisions, writing CSS, nudging icon pixels, or distilling a privacy policy into something humans can understand. Sometimes, she speaks at conferences and writes articles too.