I thought it was worth expanding on this a little more – inspired by one of the blog readers comments let me start by saying that technical difficulty in and of itself is rarely an obstacle to most privacy related issues.
It’s a bit like the old rules of user experience design.
They used to say (in fact they probably still do say) that the user should always know
- Where they are? (ORIENTATION)
- Where else they can go? (OPTIONS)
- How they can get there? (NAVIGATION)
If we transpose this debate to privacy then we need to always keep in mind the user should understand
- ORIENTATION – What are the privacy settings
are the curtains open or closed? –
see I know you were just waiting for the curtains to come in…
- OPTIONS – What are the implications of changing the privacy settings
what happens if I open or close the curtains?
- NAVIGATION – How can I change the privacy settings
how can I close the curtains?
If you don’t show the user all of this – in an application that has a lot to do with their privacy (e.g. sharing location) then you’re essential asking someone to get changed in their living room – without telling them how to close the curtains. (or worse yet – telling them where the curtains even ARE)
Whether we are talking about the popup echoecho notifications:
or the automatic reply settings in an echoecho inbox:
our aim is to offer transparency and privacy – without sacrificing speed or simplicity.