Shaping meaning­ful techno­logy that respects people and human rights

Bookmark: The Looming Digital Meltdown

In her spot-on meta-explanation (sociologists to the rescue!) of the recently revealed security flaws affecting almost any processor used in today’s computers, Zeynep Tufekci delivers a chilling analysis why, as a citizen of a world in which digital technology is increasingly integrated into all objects — not just phones but also cars, baby monitors and […]

Talk: “Designing away the cookie disclaimer”

My lightning talk from the beyond tellerrand Berlin warm-up on 2017-11-06: privacy as a core aspect of ethical UX design. "Don’t ask yourself 'does what we are doing require a cookie banner', but instead do something that respects the spirit of these privacy rules in the first place."

2+2(+n) beyond tellerrand talks to watch – Berlin 2017

Early November is beyond tellerrand time in Berlin – the cosy web and design conference hosted by Marc Thiele. Despite something like 500 attendants, this two-day event feels like a family reunion – and just like last year, the talks on offer were nothing short of mindblowing. A friend, yet to attend one of these […]

Bookmark: Faded Pictures

The ever-brilliant Real Life magazine today features a story by Kristen Martin about the ephemerality of digital narratives when third parties are entrusted with their preservation. This is a story about the experience of accruing personal documentation in a space that is not taking serious care of it: That an external force — one I […]

“Keeping the human in the loop, and in control” – keynote on AI by Norbert A. Streitz at #WUDBerlin 2017

Norbert A. Streitz' keynote at the World Usability Day Berlin 2017 was a great sample of critical enthusiasm for technology – an approach I share, yet sometimes struggle to justify as people see it as being against technological advances in general.

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Event: “Website Privacy Extreme” (16 May in Helsinki/FIN)

Wed 16
May
18:0000530 Helsinki
Finland

An experimental hacking event for active webizens concerned about privacy first and legal compliance second. The goal is to take it to the extreme: challenging 'common practices' and pushing the boundaries.

Collaborative list of GDPR-compliant DPA contracts

One of many GDPR tasks before May 25 is to sign Data Processing Agreements with third-party services you use for your website, newsletter, etc. For an easy start, we created a collaborative online list to provide an easy starting point – please use for your benefit! …and contribute back?

“Working Draft” podcast on privacy and GDPR (in German)

Baltasar, Joschi and I discuss importance and implications of the GDPR for web designers and developers - on the Working Draft podcast, hosted by Hans Christian Reinl.

Bookmark: GDPR: 10 examples of best practice UX for obtaining marketing consent

I was delighted to find this blog post, reviewing recent examples of UX solutions for GDPR-compliant marketing consent. This is the kind of reviews designers concerned with privacy need, in order to generate an industry-wide debate about (slowly emerging) practices and work out optimal solutions over time.

Challenge GDPR: undesirable effort or entrepreneurial opportunity?

The efficient combination of legal risk management and privacy-sensitive design ensures a good ROI for GDPR compliance efforts.

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#A11YBerlin meetup series kicked off with two great talks

The newly established Accessibility Meetup Berlin had a great start in January, featuring speakers looking at the topic from two different angles.

Bookmark: A day without Javascript

It must have been in 2006, in my first full-time web-related job back at Satama Interactive that I was not only introduced to, but I myself actively promoted (in our then state-of-the-art web standards advocacy group, together with Harri Kilpiö and others) that any website should work without JavaScript enabled. Back in those days this […]

Bookmark: How to get the most value out of remote user research (without breaking the bank)

From my first-hand experience, this lightweight research process described by Rian Van Der Merwe is incredibly efficient. In the article it is summarized as chosing: The RITE testing method (Rapid Iterative Testing and Evaluation) The right remote usability testing tools The right fidelity The right people to talk to The right way to analyze and […]

Bookmark: The inaccessible web: how we got into this mess

Mischa Andrews lists five reasons how the web, an accessible medium by default, ended up in an inaccessible mess: We can (and do) learn to make websites without learning accessibility We’re not held accountable for inaccessible products Assumptions guide us astray The legislation doesn’t tell us what to do New trends push technology into untested […]

Turning the Feb 2017 AWS outage into a case for “offline first” design

Allow me to begin my ponderings by picking up a point made by Karissa Bell on Mashable related to the major disruption of Amazon’s cloud services that took down a wide range of online services: Amazon’s lengthy AWS outage Tuesday was a stark reminder of just how much farther we have to go to realize […]

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Bookmark: How to get the most value out of remote user research (without breaking the bank)

From my first-hand experience, this lightweight research process described by Rian Van Der Merwe is incredibly efficient. In the article it is summarized as chosing: The RITE testing method (Rapid Iterative Testing and Evaluation) The right remote usability testing tools The right fidelity The right people to talk to The right way to analyze and […]

Using the “Cognitive bias codex” for design concept evaluation

Cognitive bias – the tendency of the human brain to interpret information based on unrecognised irrational factors – is a phenomenon that has been fascinating me for well over a decade. There is no more efficient way to improve the quality of a design concept than by doing a heuristic evaluation on potential cognitive biases […]

Bookmark: “Let’s Stop Doing Research”

Amen! Erika Hall presents why purely user-centred design is out-of-date, explains how data-driven design is actually bias-driven design, and debunks the myth of the genius designer working chiefly based on intuition. And offers her own alternative approach: We need evidence-based design. Because what we are doing first and foremost is designing. It doesn’t matter how […]

Bookmark: CoDesign Journey Planner

Based on 15 years of research, the INUSE research group at Aalto University created this “Co-design journey planner” that helps identify the most suitable research methods based on range of project variables: The problem is not finding just any approach, but sorting out which approach might suit you. […] Using the wrong method is a […]

Bookmark: Design Research Techniques

The blog at Experientia points to this convenient tool providing quick access to design research methods, divided into six project phases: This online repository is a necessarily unfinished and evolving resource for Participatory Design Techniques. These techniques help evolve a project lifecycle through participation of multiple stakeholders including potential users or audiences, partners Not all […]

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Film: “Lo and Behold, Reveries of the Connected World”

When Werner Herzog makes a film about the internet, it can almost be expected to be a poetic journey rather than a cutting-edge report or a deeply opinionated perspective (even though, with his very special style to interrupt interviewees to make a point in his narrative, this does not mean that this film would not […]

Bookmark: Taking Control of Your Digital Identity

This is great: while I see (university) teachers and course instructors elsewhere requiring students to join Facebook groups or the like, Howard Rheingold makes the participants in his “social media course” acquire a domain and server space for a self-hosted WordPress instance as the first assignment. because students are now telling the stories of their […]

Themes from Datensummit 17: culture, responsibility, credibility, literacy, engagement

Time for a reflective wrap-up of last week’s “Datensummit”, the first national-level meetup on Open Data in Germany, co-hosted by the Open Knowledge Foundation Germany and the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure. I was only able to attend the conference part on day one – the next day barcamp further deepened the debate […]

Bookmark: Is Private Browsing Really Private?

DuckDuckGo, the provider of a search engine that doesn’t track its users (see my earlier blog post), did a study about how users believe the “Private browsing” feature of their browser works: Despite Private Browsing being one of the most commonly known and used privacy features, we find that most people misunderstand the privacy protections […]

Bookmark: A lawyer rewrote Instagram’s terms of service for kids

There is a lot of interesting analysis and recommendation in the “Growing up digital” report from the UK’s Children’s Commissioner referenced in this article – and the simplified terms and conditions (that nobody ever reads) are only the most obvious of its gems – , but the truly interesting aspect is that it is not […]

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Bookmark: ‘Our minds can be hijacked’: the tech insiders who fear a smartphone dystopia

Reading why techies stop to use technology they themselves have created highlights how a lack in consideration of the long-term impact of technological advancements can damage not just products and brands, but potentially society at large.

Bookmark: The Future is (not) a Problem

Niall Docherty and Dave Young look at the “crises” of our technological era as described and “solved” by the big tech giants of today and present their critical call for understanding these design fictions as what they are: narratives that aim to establish new markets for their products. The challenge of connecting all the “disconnected” […]

PEW survey data on non-use of social media and smartphones

Two fresh data sets from Pew Research Center, highlighting realities I would love to see considered more often in design teams and boardrooms alike: “Not everyone in advanced economies is using social media”, and “Smartphones are common in advanced economies, but digital divides remain” While I consider the “digital divide” term slightly problematic here – […]

Turning the Feb 2017 AWS outage into a case for “offline first” design

Allow me to begin my ponderings by picking up a point made by Karissa Bell on Mashable related to the major disruption of Amazon’s cloud services that took down a wide range of online services: Amazon’s lengthy AWS outage Tuesday was a stark reminder of just how much farther we have to go to realize […]

Creating meaning in the abandoned – a perspective on disenchantment with the new

The short film “Follow Me on Dead Media – Analog Authenticities in Alternative Skateboarding Scene” by Joonas Rokka, Pekka Rousi and Vessi Hämäläinen presents their research on an alternative skateboarding scene in Helsinki. It is a so-called videography – academic ethnographic research using video as a method (for an intro on the academic methodology debate, […]

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Working around the Twitter Cards “SSL Handshake Error” on Uberspace

Ever since I migrated my website to HTTPS (and you should too!), I noticed that my Twitter Card implementation – the code that adds a little preview as my posts are automatically syndicated to Twitter – did not work any more. I had obviously set up an HTTP 301 to redirect all incoming requests on […]

An audience/context-conscious POSSE syndication plugin for WordPress

In my January post titled Identity, content, audience and the (independent) web, I described the approach of using a self-owned website as the primary place to publish online content, while sending out (“syndicating”) copies of the content to social platforms. My motive was to reflect on some of the implicit social aspects. In the discussion […]

“Own your data”, part III: Moving calendar and contacts into my ownCloud

Along with the purchase of my Android phone came the convenience of a free and easy cloud back-up of my phone contacts and seamless synchronization with Google Calendar. However, I have since become more wary about whom I want to share my data with. I decided that it was time to say goodbye to Google and try out ownCloud, the open source software package for hosting one's own cloud services. [...]

“Own your data”, part I: Bringing the bookmarks home from the cloud

The archives reveal it was October 2005 when I started to use Delicious to collect my bookmarks, at a time where I had to use various computers daily. Four years later, competitor Ma.gnolia lost all user data, marking the first occasion that I (along with a shaken community of their users) questioned the value of cloud services for storing personal data. Yet, both for lack of alternatives and for being lazy, I kept using Delicious - though making regular backups a habit. Today, we live 2014 and it is time to move on; more specifically, time to reclaim ownership over my bookmarks and to host them myself. Naturally, having grown used to a cloud service, a suitable web-based replacement had to be found. [...]

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