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Research Process

As practitioners of human computer interaction, we believe in putting the user first. We use a user-centered approach where the user is involved in every phase of the design process. We explore the problem of connected devices and the landscape of privacy from a user’s perspective, examining how people handle privacy concerns and how these devices might impact their lives. During the design process we will test prototypes with users to refine our solutions. This user-centered approach will help Google achieve their goal of providing the best user experience while still respecting their users’ privacy.
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Google’s Charge To Us

Build a prototype that helps people understand and control data being collected from sensors inside of their home as well as other homes they visit. Find ways to empower people to weigh the value that such devices provide against potential privacy risks.

Read more Jan 11
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Establishing Our Goal/Hunt Statement

Explore how people can reap the benefits of connected devices in the home while minimizing the degree to which privacy concerns influence their lives by imagining a future where personal data has tangible value.

Read more Jan 31
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Conducting the Research

We used a diverse array of research methods to explore the sensory privacy problem in the home. Please reference our research process book.
- Expert interviews with leading experts, UX researchers, and program managers working in the technology and privacy space

- Literature review to understand existing work in the space and methods used to study the privacy problem

- Surveys to capture broad public opinion on privacy and reactions to ubiquitous sensing

-Simulative Research Methods to study how people might react and behave to the connected future
    Participatory Design
    Diary Study
    Storyboard Speed Dating

Read more Feb-Apr
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Synthesizing Findings and Refining Our Scope

We extracted 6 key insights out of our research and used them to identify a solution space for the iterative design phase of this project

People’s Attitudes and Behaviors around Privacy
People are inconsistent yet particular about their privacy preferences
People evaluate devices differently based on the sensitivity of data collected

People’s Relationships with Devices
People want to understand and control the technologies in their home
People need to trust the companies behind the devices

People’s Relationships with Data
People recognize that their data is valuable on individual, interpersonal, and societal levels
People are uncertain about the risks of sharing their data and want to minimize those risks

Read more May
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Our Solution Space

We explored a wide array of visions. These ideas ranged from solutions that notify consumers of privacy violations and policy changes, services that educated people about connected devices Ultimately, we decided to focus our efforts on one solution space: reimagining the physical design of connected devices to address privacy concerns by helping consumers better understand and control their devices.

Read more May 18
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Lo-fi Prototyping

We started with simple clay prototypes that we moulded to communicate different feedback and killswitch methods.We tested these alongside a number of different connected devices to see which feedback and control methods are most appropriate in the context of each device.

Read more Jun
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High-fi Phase 1

We built unbranded, generic devices out of foamcore and chipboard and used Arduinos to program LEDs and motors to create the feedback and control methods we wanted to explore. We then tested these in a simulated home setting to see how people would think, react, and experience about our prototypes in a more organic setting.

Read more Jun
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Hi-fi Phase 2

We went through two rounds of prototyping and testing, taking our insights from the first round of testing and applying them to our second-round prototypes.

Read more July
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Creating the Guidelines

Based of our findings through three rounds of design iterations, we created a set of guidelines to help guide product managers and engineers as they create connected devices