Explaining the financial value exchange around data

21st May 2019
By linking a microtasking app’s permissions with work opportunities in real time, a service can clearly demonstrate value exchange to people, while leaving them in control of what information they provide to the app.
Product Context

Gigagigs participated in the TTC Labs Data Innovation Program, which was part of the first season of Startup Station Singapore in partnership with IMDA.

Gigagigs’s app connects people with microtasks — an emerging type of work — to complete through their smartphones. It scales offline data collection digitally through surveys, recordings and distributed fieldwork.

While requirements vary for each microtask, to offer the widest variety of work to platform workers, Gigagigs needs access to:

  1. Location services
  2. Device camera
  3. Device microphone
  4. Camera roll

Problem & Opportunity

Traditionally, apps like this might take an “open-slather” approach, asking for all permissions on first launch. This may scare people, as requests for certain permissions (like camera or GPS) may not be self-explanatory.

There’s an opportunity here to take a more people-centered view of permissions, quantifiably tying them to a person’s ability to access more work within the app while still leaving them ultimately in control of the permissions and information they hand over.

How might we...

...help people better understand the link between device permissions and completing a task through the app?

Team Gigagigs develop their concept into a clickable prototype

Design Features
More permissions = more work opportunities

Asking for all permissions on app launch, or waiting until the last moment in a task flow to ask for specific permissions, are both approaches that might give someone “cold feet” around a task by not being clear about what they stand to gain in exchange.

Instead, presenting a dynamic overall dollar figure of jobs available that changes as permissions do is arguably the simplest and most literal form of “value exchange” available in an app like this.

Using toggle switches for permissions allows people to change or revoke the permissions they give to the app, and see the total dollar value of available jobs update instantly as they do so.

Design Features
Permissions per task

Surfacing the permissions required per task — e.g. Location, Audio Access, Camera — complements the permissions toggle screen.

People browsing the app for work can maintain visibility of tasks that they haven’t granted permissions for, and update them as individual tasks appeal to them.

Next steps

What might a more exploratory approach to in-app permissions look like in an app like this? An example here could be the ability to filter or sort a microtasks list based on any combination of permissions, or to enable certain permissions on a time-limited or per task basis?

More widely, how could other digital services better discuss the permissions they request from people, and in doing so help them to better understand how this information is responsibly collected and used by the service?