DataBox on-boarding

Platform UX

In this project we explored the willingness of individuals to donate personal data to support science. I designed a trustworthy user experience that enables them to contribute to causes they believe in.
Digital User Experience
Human Data Interaction
Value Sensitive Design
Research Through Design
Master Thesis
6 months
Evaluation
8.5 / 10
The challenge

Involving people into donating data for research

Personal data has become a vital source of information for the research, design, and engineering of human-centered systems. However, many of these practices leave data subjects with very little control and knowledge about how their data is used and for what purpose.
Literature research
Research Through Design
Attitude framing
Validation
UX Guidelines
Literature research
Research Through Design
Attitude framing
Validation
UX Guidelines
The UX guidelines that I developed iterativelly feed the next iteration of RTD
The literature research was inspired by the findings of the RTD
My process
I followed a Research Through Design approach (RTD) to explore ethical alternatives for involving data subjects into sharing personal data. The diagram bellow illustrates my process, where the findings of each iteration inspired following literature research and the design of next prototypes and user tests.

Literature research

Seeking for a systemic change on personal data use.

This graduation is the starting point of an attempt to systemically change academic data-centric research and design practices.

Following a value-sensitive design approach, Jacky Bourgeois (chair of this project) and I identified the key barriers that prevent the flourishing of data-centric approaches in Academia. These barriers are rooted in the conflicting values of the three core stakeholder groups: human-centered designers and researchers (data users), research participants and end-users (data subjects) and research and design organizations (data managers).

Informed consent

We purposed informed consent as a vehicle to break down these barriers by shifting the values of the three stakeholders towards accountability, involvement, and trust. The findings of our initial research will be published in scientific publications in the near future.

The need of involving data subjects

Previous research from my chair's department focused on how an accountable data platform can open room for data-centric practices. However, there was a lack of understanding on how to involve data subjects in data-intensive studies in an ethical way.

Therefore, I formulated the following research question as the starting point of my thesis:
RQ.
Research Question
How to design a trustworthy and transparent User Experience that equips data subjects with the knowledge needed to give informed consent to the usage of their personal data for University research?
This on-boarding video is the result of my research process. However, it can serve the reader of this case study to sensitize with context and to understand what I was trying to achieve.
Methodology

Research Through Design

In order to explore how would people embrace and react to a system that doesn’t yet exist, I conducted a Research Through Design process. RTD enables the exploration of interactions which haven’t been experienced in the context of study.

I conducted 4 prototyping and testing iterations that involved a total of 41 participants from TU Delft.
41
Participants
4
Tests
Research Findings

Three attitudes towards data sharing

As an outcome of the RTD process and additional literature research, a novel attitude categorization is proposed. This categorization frames the different perspectives towards sharing data to support research, extending the literature about data privacy attitudes.
Hesitant
The “hesitants” are those who consider supporting research and protecting their privacy, seeking a balance that makes them feel comfortable.
Distrustful
“Distrustful” are people who don’t care much about supporting research and prioritise protecting their privacy.
Altruist
“Altruist” are those who want to support research over all things, They are not concerned about protecting their privacy because they trust the goodwill of researchers, or don’t consider dangerous sharing most personal information.
Concern about supporting research (%)
Concern about profile uniqueness (%)
Concern about the sensitivity of attributes shared (%)
1
“Altruist” are those who want to support research over all things, They are not concerned about protecting their privacy because they trust the goodwill of researchers, or don’t consider dangerous sharing most personal information.
2
The “hesitants” are those who consider supporting research and protecting their privacy, seeking a balance that makes them feel comfortable.
3
“Distrustful” are people who don’t care much about supporting research and prioritise protecting their privacy.
Databox on-boarding prototype
Validation test

Control, trust and transparency

An evaluation test is conducted in the faculty with 19 participants from 10 different countries. The test validates the dataBox concept and the adequacy of the UX proposed over three dimensions: Perceived control, trustworthiness, and transparency.
Further steps

UI Improvements

The evidence provided in the thesis gives the greenlight from the data subject side for continuing the development of the research platform, demonstrating that users will be willing to participate in such a system. Further work should focus on the design of the next phases of interaction with the dataBox, developing the appropriate features to satisfy the needs and expectations of the three attitude types.

The interface bellow illustrates the improvements on the UI of the on-boarding phase after the analysis of the fourth test iteration.
The challenge

Involving people into donating personal data for research

Personal data has become a vital source of information for the research, design, and engineering of human-centered systems. However, many of these practices leave data subjects with very little control and knowledge about how their data is used and for what purpose.
In this project, we wanted to explore the willingness of individuals to donate personal data to support science and design a trustworthy user experience that enables them to contribute to causes they believe in.
© 2020 Pablo Ferreras