We believe there’s now an immediate opportunity to help move the tech industry into being privacy-centric, and generally to support “tech for good” movements inside our organizations. To get there, our users need champions at every company whose job is more than researching user preferences — it should be about defending their rights, too.
We believe UX teams — and User Researchers in particular — are the ones best suited for it.
Let’s take privacy, as an example. It’s important that someone on a team knows what data submitted to the product is considered private by users, what the company may do with that data, and where to draw the line between these two. And who better than those whose primary job is try to understand users?
The future of UX research could increasingly be about safety, privacy, and inclusion. This is where the tech industry is finally starting to move, and we can adopt and facilitate this shift.
There certainly have been voices within companies that speak for the rights of users, but it’s clear that those have not been strong enough, or not close enough to product development. It’s time that someone takes the lead.
Because now, more than ever, it is becoming clear that not following certain basic rules is not just unethical, but also financially and legally expensive.
A good rule of thumb is to ask ourselves:
– If my friend was the user, would I want the company to do things this way?
– If I was the user, would I want it this way?
And since the answer to this question isn’t always obvious, and since you are not always the user, the research team should be the ones to answer the question with real user data.
Pledging to protect user privacy
Here’s an initial proposal of seven principles that we can all use to solidify and clearly articulate the ethics around building software.
It is an initial draft, and we’re looking for suggestions by the community on how to make these better. Please help us to defend user privacy and making user researchers its champions, by sharing your thoughts with @lookback, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or by resharing this with your community!