My Data Is Your Data
Terms and conditions, we are willingly to accept them with out thinking twice. Not many people care about the narrative of where their data ends up. In the app store nothing is a free download, rather these applications are learning about your consumer likes and dislikes, and in reality we are the product.
Because giving away our data in applications as currency in the modern day, I think the design of this aspect needs to be much improved upon. Currently, most applications have a long form of terms and conditions that would most likely take 20 minutes to read properly, but because we download applications when we need them immediately, these long scrolling pages never get read. Not to mention the sight of a long fine print document is not exactly inspiring reading material.
Working as a consultant and on various design teams this past year, the consent of data gathering rarely, if ever, comes up in the design process. It is often left to the last minute, and because of this, we all default to the standard long form that has been used in the past as an easy out.
Our users are valuable and the products and services we design for would be nothing without them. So don’t they deserve the right to know what and where their data is being stored? Yes we do proved this information but in horrendous pop ups or links that is purposely designed not to be read! Let’s also not put the owness back on the user and blame them for their ignorance. Like we all know, don’t shame the user for not understanding something, instead, change the experience. After all this is our job, to make things seamless and straight forward so people can accomplish their goals. Why is it that this idea of design is not applied to the aspect of terms and conditions?
It is time to remember that the terms and conditions are part of the experience. As designers we need to be asking why clients are collecting certain kinds of data, what data points are stored within the application, where is this data being stored and for what purpose. By knowing the who what when where and why of a companies data collecting, we can design an interface that is open and honest to the user. If you are working for a company that does not want to be transparent about their points of data collection, then maybe you need to reevaluate if working for this company is ethical.
Let’s apply the same principles of the physical human to human relationship. The healthy ones are based on trust and honesty. You let that person into your life and share vulnerable moments together. The same is true for an application as soon as it is downloaded to your device, entering the system of your own personal digital world. A healthy relationship, any relationship, should start with respect and honesty. Let’s go back to showing our users the respect that they definitely warrant, as they are the sole reason all of us make an income.