Unit: Macro UX
Duration: 5 weeks
Group: Lin Mu, Balachander Prasanthi, Desire Obah, Dora Alvarez, Sofia Alexiou
The IBM brief was one of the most challenging ones I had to work on, while pursuing my Master's at LCC. The reason for that was the ethics behind the brief, as well as, the lack of knowledge in data mining and advanced coding skills. Thankfully my group was committed and the IBM design team we worked with was very supportive and our meeting were very constructive.
My main duties in this project were research, app wireframing and prototyping, designing assets and presenting to IBM's team.
Reading the brief, we knew right away, we wanted to try and solve this in an ethical way and flip the narrative to suit the people and not the company. We went in many different directions during our research stage, exploring themes like barter markets, transactional art, health, sustainability and collection and use of our data.
Finally, we decided to focus on large UK supermarkets, and how we could take advantage of their loyalty schemes, while also somehow benefiting someone.
Cracks in the System
What we found through our research was that supermarkets collect an enormous amount of data when you shop - even if you haven't signed up for their loyalty programs - and later on sell that data to other companies or use them for their own benefit and profitability.
The nudge for us, as customers, to give out our data is very small compared to what we the supermarkets earn, and to add to that it usually goes unused. (see grid below)
Charities, specifically food banks or ones that are tackling hunger, create their own accounts for Tesco, Sainsburys, Co-op or any other grocery store. After they get their own QR code, they are able to reproduce it as many times as they want, print it on cards or share them digitally.
People that want to support those charities can pick up a physical card directly for the charity or use the app and take advantage of the clubcards’ offers. As a result, multiple people with different consumer behaviors and demographics use the same profile, making it impossible for grocery stores to form a profile on them and on top of that they get to keep their anonymity.
Through our research we realized that people use clubcards for the rewards available in store, i.e. better prices, but the accumulated rewards, i.e. points, go unused. However, now, the charity can use those rewards to give back to the community and support people in need.
The transaction that we therefore manipulate without people knowing is that of our data being sold by grocery stores to other corporations.
Our research process included things like familiarizing ourselves with concepts like blockchain, data mining, currencies and other relevant themes. Conducting interviews with shoppers, requesting our own data from various companies to see what is being gathered, as well as what they are willing to give out. One the other hand, we also tried more creative outlets, like free writing, dioramas and looking into the arts for inspiration.
Credit for pictures below (left to right): Atelier van Lieshout — AVL Banknotes, Danica Phelps “Income’s Outcome” and Marcel Duchamp — “Monte Carlo Bonds”
Below you can see some of the assets we designed, between them club cards for Tesco and M&S in collaboration with a specific foodbank, leaflets of how the cards can be distributed to customers and the app. For the purposes of presenting a more realistic and refined result, we came up with a name and logo for our idea, which is "Privatap"
Below you can see a recorded walk-through of the high fidelity app prototype I designed together with Desire Obah. It is a simple app that allows the user to easily interact with it
One thing we all agreed we didn't think about was the responsibity we put on the charities in case any of those supermarkets decided to make legal moves. As a next step we would design the process in such a way that the charity and user is more protected legally. On the other hand, we were glad to be able to crack this and it really showed me I can still design and find solution outside of my comfort zone and knowledge.