POST 7: Issue mapping

Co-creating controversy maps was a great way to quickly gain a broad understanding of the topic at hand. Interestingly, although both my partner and I had undertaken prior research on the subject we had both focused on very different areas of online privacy. The task of co-creating these visualisations helped identify nuances within our research and allowed us to come to a more holistic understanding of the topic. In addition to sharing knowledge, it was also interesting to get another student’s opinion on the divisive issue of online privacy. Discussing the advantages and disadvantages of online privacy was valuable as it allowed us to identify the variety of arguments that stakeholders have expressed about the issue. With that being said, the actual output of the mapping activity has not been particularly helpful to informing my design approach. Although I found it useful to discuss the issue of online privacy with another student, the maps we created are all but indecipherable. Based on my observation of other group’s maps, this is not a unique problem. I feel as though the way the controversy maps were introduced, coupled with limited time we had to complete them promoted a singular approach; write everything and anything you can about the topic as fast as possible. While this method did create large sprawling visualisations, it discounted a lot of the subtly and nuance that exists within complex problems. An example of this narrow focus is evident in our stakeholder map, which based on our tutor’s direction, focused on individual organisations. I feel a better, albeit more challenging approach would have been to look at broad categories of stakeholders. Doing this would have allowed us to better focus on their interests rather than on their identity, ultimately leading to a deeper understanding of the problem.

Post 7, image 2

This map was generated from earlier stakeholder maps seen in post 3. Building on from that, it looks at the emotions behind each issue and the motivations behind the various stakeholders. Interestingly the word which came up the most was control; governments want control over their population, companies want control over their share price, and users want control of their data.


I found this mapping concept very confusing to wrap my head around and thus did not generate a good outcome. This mind map builds upon the previous exercise, and incorporates stakeholders into the equation in relation to the issue of national security. The main takeout from this activity was that the media is highly influential in people’s perception of state sponsored data surveillance.

Post 7, image 4

This image looks at two actor mind maps we were able to work through. In this case, two actors vehemently opposed to the others actions. This visualisation highlights the motivations of each party, and how their different ideological views inform their actions in regards to online privacy, data surveillance and data security. It was also interesting to look at how they work around the restrictions placed upon them by their environment.

Post 7, image 3

This map shows all the actors; human and non-human associated with the issue of online privacy. This visualisation was more useful than some of the other mind maps as it provided a detailed framework around which to dissect our topic. Of particular interest in this map is the idea that data collected from users is a commodity. This raises interesting questions about how data is used as a new form of currency in the information age.