Digital Contact Tracing: How to Disclose the Details (A Practical Case Study)

Digital Contract Tracing is a hotly debated topic. Some jurisdictions and institutions are doing better than others. Numerous approaches are being tried and tested.

Rather than get into all that, let’s focus on something different; how the pros and cons of a given approach to digital contact tracing can be effectively communicated to large populations.

This is exactly what we focused on during our recent workshop for the UX Psychology community. We utilised our Better Disclosure Canvas to demonstrate how virtual teams can design more valuable, meaningful and engaging experiences.

Throughout this workshop, our aim was to demonstrate that terms and conditions style agreements can be better. Our stretch goal was to get participants bought into the idea that we might actually be able to design terms and conditions experiences that people love…

We kicked off with some info on:

  1. The state of disclosures today
  2. The case for change
  3. How the Better Disclosure Toolkit can help
  4. Practical examples of Better Disclosure in action, and
  5. A broader perspective about how we can design a better future by working together

We dove deeper into the end to end Better Disclosure process, and then got started with a collaborative session.

During the session we proposed a few assumptions:

  1. There’s a pandemic and digital contact tracing is being proposed
  2. The Government cares about — and prioritises- the wellbeing of its citizens (kind of like New Zealand)
  3. The app is built using privacy preserving approaches like DP-3T, and
  4. Citizen participation is optional (because agency and the right to self termination are explicit values)

The entire group of us (30+ people) were acting like a cross functional team tasked with figuring out how to design an awesome disclosure experience that effectively informed citizens (the science behind the proposed approaches, the tradeoffs being made, the technologies being used, the proposed consequences etc.).

We time boxed the session to 45 mins. My esteemed colleague was a ruthless time keeper. We ended up populating an entire canvas with some great content.

As far as we can tell the event was a hit.

Everyone actively participated. Many spoke up to seek clarity on different areas. A number of attendees have also begun using the canvas for their own work.

All of this is awesome. But, what matters is most is whether or not we (collectively) get better at communicating complex topics that have the potential to impact billions of people.

Federal Governments and interested institutions around the world could learn from this experience. The net result might well be a citizen population more empowered to make informed choices.

This is an outcome worth designing.

I’m here to chat if you want to dive deeper into any of this.

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Nathan Kinch

A confluence of Happy Gilmore, Conor McGregor and the Dalai Lama.