YASMINA LÓPEZ, Service Designer at Fjord Madrid, Senior Fellow supporting the Usability and Design within the Secure Program at @SimplySecure & @OpentechFund

Rethinking the user data agreement experience

A toolkit and the guidance needed to go through the service design thinking methodology to come up with an open source and meaningful solution that will help users and citizens to safeguarding their data rights when using a product or service.


In many products and services, privacy features are only incorporated in a later stage to the design and development of the product or service; or even after getting and following a public protest. But, what is the cost of that?

Sometimes it’s impossible to adapt the potential changes because the software cannot be modified anymore. Other times, it’s just too expensive to even try it. We are currently living in a world where people is now more and more concerned and interested in taking more control about their data. We see how people start to install ad-blockers, anti-tracking tools or stickers in their cameras. But the reality they confront it’s different.

Users feel obligated to read long documents full of complex and technical language and agree the terms and agreements without really knowing what data they are going to share or with who.

Research shows that it will take approximately 201 hours (10 days) per year to a person to read each of the privacy policies they find annually when interacting with products or services. Here is where the problem starts and we do not have any control of our privacy anymore.

Since creating reliable and secure data exchange experiences will be one of the biggest challenges our world will face in the coming years, applying service design methodologies to rethink the way users interact with the data agreements of a product or service, it will help us to create a meaningful solution that will make us to anticipate the privacy issues before it reaches the user.

Just because users should have the control to decide what, where, how and when to share their data, not the companies.

Service design is a process in which the designer focuses on creating experiences and solutions the users want to use and understand. This requires taking a holistic view of all the related actors, their interactions, and supporting materials and infrastructures.

For that, the key point it's to involve the people and the stakeholders during the design process since the very beginning until the end.

We will start by talking with the people and the stakeholders to better understand their needs, motivations, limitations and concerns when they face to the data agreements of a product or service. We will analyse the information to identify potential opportunities and together, we will design a meaningful solution for all of us. We will test it. We will apply the feedback we get and we will iterate it until we make sure we get what the user really wants and needs.

We want to give the control to the users and service design can do a lot for that.


  • Product teams

  • Policy makers

  • Developers

  • Designers

  • Users of products and services


You get tired every time you start to interact with a product or service. It takes too much time and effort to read the data terms and agreements. You give up and because you do not have too many choices, you end up accepting everything it supposed it says.

But now it's different... Something got your attention.

The design of the terms and agreements it's different. It's not anymore a long document full of complex and technical language. The design attracts you to read it. You understand the language. It even includes some images! It also includes different options that gives you the control of choosing what data you want to share and what not. You feel empowered and more secure.