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Designing Data Transparency for All Lens

If digital services are going to be used by people around the world, then they'll need to be understood by people around the world, too. Data transparency must be designed to reflect an ever-expanding range of needs.

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Data transparency is about so much more than Terms & Conditions.

But they’re a good place to start.

This is typically what they look like.

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new buttons And this is the buttonthat shows you agree. And this is the buttonthat shows you agree.
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The language is complicated.

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There’s a lot of it.

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These documents require college-level comprehension skills, but, in the USA, only 48%* of people can read at this level.

*Source: U.S. Department of Education

We say we want data transparency, yet we design for inaccessibility from the start.

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How might we think about this differently?

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Could T&Cs be educational?

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Could they explain — perhaps even justify — how and why a company is using data?

Graphic elements Graphic elements Graphic elements Graphic elements
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Could visual design and graphic elements make things easier to read?

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Could we design with different audiences in mind?

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Could we simply write for clarity and comprehension?

Accessibility *Text credit: Amnesty International
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Thoughtful T&C design is one little step towards creating data transparency that truly makes sense to everybody.

Terms & Conditions are one place within the user experience where we should think of transparency as a feature, not a hindrance–but there are many other product moments where the same insights can apply.

Designing for the world means designing across a range of different needs and abilities. It's a huge responsibility to help people overcome barriers to understanding. Barriers that might be physical, economic, cultural, conceptual, or something else altogether.

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