Posts by Sarah Gold

We should know what's made a decision

Yesterday, Matt wrote about a research project we carried out into ways automated decisions made by public services could be made more legible. The themes explored in this work, however, are not just relevant for public services.

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We need new patterns

On Tuesday I gave a talk at O’Reilly Design, encouraging designers to join us as we make new design patterns for trust and consent. This is roughly what I said, minus a few ad-libs.

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We’re hiring a developer and delivery manager

In our first year we helped the Co-op prototype services that give members control of data, investigated what the GDPR could mean for services we use, prototyped new consumer technology and more. We’re well into our second year now. We’re a bigger team than ever before and we’re working on bigger projects. So we’re hiring for two new positions at IF, a developer and a delivery manager.

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Sharing some process from IF

I saw this Tweet over the weekend, and it struck a chord with me. It’s something I’m very familiar from at IF: someone losing access to a service because they didn’t download their backup codes for 2FA. I don’t blame them — it’s often not clear that you need to download your backup codes. Setting up 2FA can be a technical exercise and backup codes are the last part of that process, easy to miss.

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Knowing the known unknowns

As Georgina wrote finding out how technology can improve care for people in end of life care is a complicated area. It brings together lots of different people and parts of the health service. So the improving care project wasn’t about trying to find solutions. It was about uncovering the user needs of patients, carers and clinicians for healthcare data and finding out what should happen to meet those needs. A large part of my time was spent finding the security, privacy and consent implications of better access to healthcare data.

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How much does free Wi-Fi really cost?

LinkNYC is a project to bring free Wi-Fi across New York by replacing many of the payphones with Wi-Fi kiosks. I was in New York last week, but many of the Links I saw seemed to be switched off (well, the ones I noticed had blank screens).

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Giving evidence to a Parliament Committee

A few weeks ago I was invited by the Scrutiny Unit of Parliament to give evidence on Part 5 of the Digital Economy Bill, a section that addresses digital government. Yesterday afternoon I gave my evidence to the Committee. You can watch the video on parliament.tv, it’s at 15:50. I wanted to publish some of the notes I took in to the session, partly because it’s good to be transparent, and partly because there wasn’t really the time to unpick the implications of some of this in the time we had.

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The future is mundane

As we were working on The Log, a design probe from our project on the future of consumer advocacy, I kept coming back to Nick Foster’s talk on The Future Mundane. It’s a talk about industrial design futures and how not to do them. There are a few things from the talk that particularly stick out to me, so I thought I’d write about how they influenced what we made.

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How to show change in products

As part of our work investigating the future of consumer advocacy, Ian, Georgina and I built a design probe to look at how the things a person owns could communicate change. We’ve called it The Log, and it shows one way we might make it easier to see how the connected devices in our homes are working.

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How we got to Paperfree

Earlier this year we worked with Co-op Digital to develop Paperfree, an experimental prototype of a paperwork management app that pushed the boundaries of what the Co-op could do digitally.

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New Radical

Last week I was given a New Radical award from Nesta and The Observer. It’s an award given to 50 people and organisations in the UK, to recognise their work in social change.

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Trust and advocacy

In my last post, I wrote about how our relationship to devices is changing. I’d say that how those devices communicate change is the most important area that consumer advocacy groups should be focusing on today.

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The things we trust are changing

We’ve adjusted our behaviour to incorporate the network. We carry phones with us all the time. We have them in their hands, or near them, all the time. People use them on the toilet. New social conventions form around them. And we often feel quite insecure if we don’t have them. The network has become a transitional object. What are the implications of that network being part of more things?

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Design for data

‘Design with data’ is a pretty compelling principle. But we also need to design for data. The relationship between our models for data storage and access are inextricably linked to the services themselves: the database designs the service, the service designs the database. When designing services, we need to understand the material we’re working with to design the right thing.

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The future of consumer advocacy

Today is World Consumer Rights Day, which marks the day John F. Kennedy gave a speech in 1962 to the United States Congress that led to the first consumer rights. So, I thought it was a timely moment to write about a project we’re starting on the future of consumer advocacy.

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Hello World

We make things that change how people think about data, privacy and security. Projects by IF works on big challenging issues. Often, they begin as very small challenging issues. As the Internet becomes increasingly embedded within our daily lives, it is encountering design questions that lie deep in our cultural DNA; privacy, security, trust, transparency, ownership, citizenship.

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Get in touch

If you’ve got any questions or fancy a coffee, get in touch