Privacy & Convenience – CRO Groningen

Designing with data is a tradeoff between privacy & convenience. This short talk discusses design principles for privacy & fair business.

The UX of privacy is about healthy relationships.

Pecha Kucha Talk

User Experience & CRO Groningen Meetup
Streamed Live: 7 July 2020

Thanks everyone for agreeing to be included here. 🙏


English Version

👇🏼 Skip to the transcript

Dutch Version


Our goal is to create healthy, mutually beneficial relationships with our customers. Ethical value exchange is balanced, consensual, and informed. And collecting data is legally sibject to purpose limitation, data minimization, and higher standards for sensitive data.

👉 Download the slides here (PDF)

✅ Get the Ethical Design Checklist


Special thanks to Tamanna Zirak and Raymon uit de Bulten


Hey, y’all, I’d like to speak with you today about privacy and convenience, specifically the trade offs between the two. I’m gonna discuss two frameworks and six heuristics that we can use to evaluate privacy by design.

And I’d like to also say that this is a modified PechaKucha style presentation. So I have five minutes for the whole thing and 30 seconds for each slide.

Ready? Here we go.

So when I think about privacy and convenience I see them on a continuum with one side, with full privacy and the other side is full convenience. Obviously, every decision that we make, especially in design or creating something for other people will land somewhere along this continuum.

But where are the limits? Where are the good places to be and where do we not necessarily wanna be? Well, there are two different frameworks that try to answer this question. Legal and ethical frameworks.

I’m gonna discuss both because actually both of them are kind of incomplete. So, I’ll start with the legal framework. And my reference for this is the EU’s GDPR or General Data Protection Regulation.

Now, this outlines three interesting concepts here. Purpose limitation, data minimization and sensitive data. With these mean is that you should only collect data for legitimate purposes.

You should only collect the data that you need for those legitimate purposes, and that not all data are equal. Some data are more sensitive because they could be more readily and more dangerously abused.

Now, this is incomplete in the sense that legitimate purposes and necessary data collection aren’t strictly defined in a legal framework. So that’s why I like to turn to a more ethical framework.

And when I talk about this, I’m talking about the overarching objective for all of us whenever we create something or trying to sell a product or service to other people. And our objective there is actually to create a healthy relationship.

And a healthy relationship between ourselves and our customers, or our audience relies on a fair value exchange. Now, what I mean by this is basically that we create something for someone else who improves their life in a meaningful way, and they give us something back, something that helps us to continue creating that value over time.

Usually this is money, but it could be anything else that we need to keep moving. Now, what makes a value exchange fair as opposed to one that’s not fair? For me there are three different things or characteristics that make value exchanges fair.

A fair value exchange is balanced, consensual and informed.

It’s balanced in the sense that the costs or risks do not outweigh the benefits for anyone involved in this value exchange. It’s consensual in that, there’s no pressure or coercion to participate. And it’s informed in that everyone involved understands the risks, the costs and benefits involved in this, in the value exchange itself.

So that’s quite theoretical but let’s take it to a practical example. Everyone’s familiar with eCommerce websites where you order a package and they deliver that package or product to your home.

So it makes sense that they ask for my address because they need to deliver the package somewhere. But a lot of these services also ask for a date of birth. Now, they want this to send emails on our birthday, kind of spammy marketing stuff, but the risk there is actually data fraud and identity theft.

And what I mean by that is, anyone who has your name, address and date of birth can actually open credit cards for you in your name. They can open a bank accounts in your name. They can make payments from your bank account. They could even rent a house and start a weed farm in there.

Actually, this woman, Melanie, 18 years old is a victim of this. She actually got her data hacked and her identity stolen on Marktplaats or the Dutch version of eBay.

Now, if we think about the value of the exchange here, we see that it’s not, if I have to risk getting my identity stolen, it’s not worth getting those spammy marketing emails every year on my birthday. So this for me is an example of how not to be balanced, consensual and informed.

In any case, our goal is to create healthy relationships. And in order to do that, we need to make sure that our value exchange exchange is balance consensual and informed. And that we understand purpose limitation, data minimization and treat sensitive data with more care.

So my name is Brian Pagán and I believe that we, creators, designers, engineers are the ones who are building the world around us. So if we wanna have a more ethical and more equitable and a more compassionate world, it’s up to us to build it. So my mission is to help us do that.

One tool I created is called the Ethical Design Checklist and you can download it here. It’s available for free, so feel free to check it out.

Thanks very much.