Post 8: Brainstorming possibilities for a design response / online privacy

by Jiahui Li (nancy)

After the past six weeks research and brainstorming, my issue study has been brought into the important stage. We finally introduced our proposal into three types of design practice: data visualisation, service design and generative system. We start with the IDEO brainstorming section to generate our ideas for a proposal. Below are the five cues that help me articulate my problem statement:

1. Who does the problem affect?

The key stakeholders in this issue are 18 – 25 years old teenagers who do need Internet and don’t know how to control the seriousness of online privacy issue. Most young teenagers have a large demand of Internet and low level of privacy understanding; although they afraid of online privacy leaking sometimes, they are not strong enough to control the problem.

2. What are the boundaries of the issue?

The boundary of the issue is representational; it shows the most common online privacy problem that exists in online commercial development. Based on the previous research, I explored the online privacy issue that specific to “online commercial use of personal information”. When business use information in ways that user does not like, users quickly know about it, and the firms are forced to stop. Because of  business keeps ask and use user’s personal information without their consent, the balance between online commercial development and user privacy has lost.

3. When does the problem occur?

Problems usually happened when you are registering a new website and browsing the illegal websites. More and more website ask to sign up before you browsing, when you sign up a new website, users are required to provide a large amount of personal information include interest, email, gender, address, phone number, even more, privacy questions.

4. Where does the problem occur?

The major place that the problem happened is in your email system, mobile phone message and a phone call. For example, thousand of promotion email keep annoying you every day, phone fraud and message fraud made you afraid and don’t know what’s the truth is.

5. Why is it important that the problem is fixed?

The problem is too common to exist in the online society, the invasion of personal privacy had a great influence on people’s life and the development of the network industry. So the seriousness of the problem can’t be ignored. People need to have a healthy network environment, as well as can protect their personal privacy not  be violated. Especially for young teenagers, they can’t live without Internet, so we need to fix the relationship between website and user privacy.

In class brainstorming

Once we have our problem statement done, we start brainstorming in our group. We develop ideas around online privacy, what’s possible to change, and what our ideas to direct a proposal. Below are the 5 point summary of our possibility findings:

  • In order to educate people and provide people a deep understanding of how creepy when you exposed your personal information public, I generated the idea around data visualisation, which will be present through an interactive design; emphasise the feeling that lost data.
  • Improve the possibility of finding where you lost your data, and be aware of how to protect your data successfully from specific website/online network.
  • A data trust system can help people build the trust between user and website
  • App / program for user to input locations of risk-build a database
  • Improve the understanding of online privacy with info graphic poster, promote and educating people online privacy knowledge


Based on what I got from the five-point summary of the possibilities, I’m going to work on the third idea. As a designer, I decided to build a service design system reflect on a Third Party Platform (TPF) involved in a data trust system,  which aims to help people protect their personal information not be used from commercial website.

According to the old blog post, I have interested in how design project visualise social issue and how can it help people realise the importance of the social issue that happened today. The service design system are designed specific for when you register a new website, it’s replace the function of sign up with personal information. You can scan QR code and sing up without submitting any personal information.

After scanning, the tips will pop out to ask you “whether you want use TPF to manage the website”, you can chose yes or not. If yes, all the information from the website will directly go into the TPF inbox, and you can check all the message here. On the other hand, a data trust system is embed in the TPF, it will help you analysis your data and check where your data has lost.

On the one side, online business still can get the information of users (email, and name), on other side, users can have a safety internet environment. So the project has balanced the relationship between users and companies, as well as help young teenager’s protect their personal privacy.