To do that we heard from a broad range of people about how they build products and services, and what challenges they currently face with privacy and data.

People have practical problems to solve

It was brilliant to hear about the real, day-to-day challenges people have trying to build services with privacy in mind. In general they tended to be more practical issues rather than big abstract problems, here are some of them:

  • What techniques should you use to incorporate new ways of thinking about data and privacy into traditional methods of working?

  • How do you think about privacy at early stages of the project without constraining the design?

  • What are the best ways to communicate to people how data about them is being shared?

  • How can transparency be useful and not intimidating to users?

  • How do you balance designing what’s right with designing what works?

  • What evidence can you use to get clients and business owners to care about privacy and data?

These are all challenges we can start to address by gathering the community together and sharing what works and what doesn’t. That’s going to help us programme our speakers, and think about what tools we might make alongside the meetups.

Empowering people to make better decisions

We wanted to understand how organisations are currently thinking about privacy and data and asked our audience when and how decisions were made where they work.

Many people felt restricted by policies or business models. They felt they had little influence on how this manifested throughout the design process. An aim of the Trust & Design meetups is to shift the conversation away from someone being affected by external systems to looking at how someone can influence things positively in their own practice.

A lot of people thought decisions made about data and privacy happened at the prototyping and user testing stage. I think this is brilliant as outcomes are more likely to meet user needs if they have been iterated and tested with the people meant to be using them. It also reflects the important position of designers and product teams to effect change and transform products and services into things people actually want to use.

But some people talked about how decisions were often made during the development stages, just before implementation. They said the choices developers made about the technology that underpins a service can have a huge impact on the final design – including how data is handled and what technologies or third parties might process it. This is an area we could work to support. It might involve making toolkits that help teams to have more collaborative conversations to make sure decisions about privacy and data are made together and at an earlier stage.

A lot of people care about privacy and data

Finally we asked our audience who makes decisions in their organisation. Understanding this was important for us to know who we needed to support to help make those decisions. We received a huge range of answers from ‘everyone’ to ‘no one’ and all parties in between.

It highlighted to us that it isn’t just designers and product teams that care about building trustworthy services, there’s a whole spectrum of people who want to change the way we design consent and transparency. Throughout the series of meetups we’ll endeavour to bring together a diverse collection of speakers to talk about Trust & Design, so watch this space!

The next meetup on Tuesday 18th July is currently sold out but please join the waiting list and we may release more tickets closer to the date if we can.