Erika Harano, Grant Chinn, Boaz Sender, Website working group, Design Justice Network

Una Lee, Steering Committee Member, Design Justice Network
Director, Consentful Tech Project

FRIES: What good consent looks like in sign-up processes

APPLYING A COMPREHENSIVE FRAMEWORK FOR CONSENT TO WEB FORMS THROUGH REVERSIBILITY, CLEAR LANGUAGE, AND RESPECT FOR A USER’S DECISION NOT TO CONSENT

 
 
 

The problem:

A lot of us know about consent with regard to our physical bodies, like in the context of medical decisions or sexual activities. But when it comes to our digital lives, there’s a lack of discussion about what consent means for our data, our identities, and our online interactions. The Design Justice Network (DJN) has over 200 public signatories to its shared principles which center around prioritizing the well-being of marginalized people, but there is no signatory listing pattern that includes a robust framework for consent.


The solution:

While redesigning the DJN website (currently in progress), the website working group was inspired by the Building Consentful Tech Zine to design stronger consent mechanisms into the process of becoming a signatory.

DJN is now working to build consent into the process by using the Building Consentful Tech Zine’s “FRIES” framework. According to FRIES, consent is: Freely given, Reversible, Informed, Enthusiastic, and Specific. This acronym was coined by Planned Parenthood in order to provide a clear and easy to remember definition of consent when it comes to sex and intimacy, but it also applies to our digital lives.

Who is this for?

This pattern is intended for a person who wants to declare their support for a cause, which in this case is design justice. Design justice rethinks design processes, centers people who are normally marginalized by design, and uses collaborative creative practices to address the deepest challenges our communities face.

Prototype:

The prototype we’re working on involves a) mapping out a user flow that fully considers consent, refusal, as well as the reversal of consent; b) a set of two buttons, one for signing onto the principles and one for removing yourself either as a public signatory or entirely from the signatory list; c) a clear language policy that asks for consent while also reminding users about what good consent looks like; and d) the visual design and copywriting of a dialog box that indicates that we respect a user’s decision to refuse consent.*

*Note: these are works in progress.

Scenario:

Sign-up flow:  The sign-up flow fully considers consent, refusal, as well as the reversal of consent.

Sign-up flow: The sign-up flow fully considers consent, refusal, as well as the reversal of consent.

 
Call to Action:  In the call to action area, users will see a “remove me” button next to the conventional “sign up” button. This makes it clear to new signatories that they can remove themselves at any time, and is easy to find for those returning to the signatory page.

Call to Action: In the call to action area, users will see a “remove me” button next to the conventional “sign up” button. This makes it clear to new signatories that they can remove themselves at any time, and is easy to find for those returning to the signatory page.

 
Consent Step:  We are drafting a clear language policy that asks for consent while also reminding users about what good consent looks like.

Consent Step: We are drafting a clear language policy that asks for consent while also reminding users about what good consent looks like.

Responding to a “no”:  Just as important as asking for consent is respecting the answer when it’s a no. Rather than a conventional modal window that pressures users to reconsider their decision, if a user refuses or revokes consent, they are directed to a confirmation page that indicates that we respect their decision.

Responding to a “no”: Just as important as asking for consent is respecting the answer when it’s a no. Rather than a conventional modal window that pressures users to reconsider their decision, if a user refuses or revokes consent, they are directed to a confirmation page that indicates that we respect their decision.

 

Taken together, this signup flow improves the consent process for becoming a signatory, but also reinforces what good consent looks like through language and design.