XING, the largest professional social network in the German-speaking area makes its handling and attitude towards data privacy transparent with a dedicated website, a so-called 'privacy hub'.
1. Introduce to the topic of data privacy at XING in an easy to understand and compelling storytelling-format?
2. Give transparent explanations of privacy when using the XING network - from a short summary right down to the adjustment of individual settings?
The home page of the privacy-hub is about the history of the XING network and its attitude towards delicate data of its members. Using a forced scrolling technique, the visitor is guided from one ‘chapter’ to the next, and drawn into the story. Colorful, short animations emphasize each respective core statement.
After the introduction, visitors are guided to the privacy area. Here they find explanations for the most important privacy settings of the network and from there, if interested, either get to the respective legal background or into their individual platform settings.
This allows a targeted intensification in topics of interest. The content for each sub-topic is summarized so that visitors get an overview and can decide whether the respective information is sufficient or they want to deepen a topic. At the lowest level, the legal background can be found and, for example, tracking settings could be changed instantly.
Since the project was situated outside the normal duties of the agile product teams, a temporary functioning team was assembled. Core stakeholders for this project belonged to the marketing, legal and the online-security departments.
I startet by running several workshops with all stakeholders involved, as well as conducted one-on-one interviews, to understand everyone’s expectations and requirements in regards to the content and scope of the privacy hub.
Concurrently, interviews of XING platform members focused on their personal thoughts and feelings towards saving private and professional data on XING servers. In summary, even members who described themselves as being rather sensitive and critical felt that:
From the interviews, two primary target groups for the privacy hub emerged.
The collected insights laid the foundation for all subsequent strategic decisions. Deriving from the findings, I started by describing the basic goals for users, the company and the XING brands and validated these with the involved stakeholders.
In addition, I defined high-level principles for the interactions and the user experience on the hub, to ensure special needs of users and the company would be considered as well. These principles guided the project team and helped them to be on track, both in terms of basic alignment of the policy hub, as well as for detailed questions and to justify decisions in front of other stakeholders.
Considerable time was spent comparing and testing various forms of storytelling options as well as variations of user-interaction possibilities. After several rounds of user testing the decision fell on a version, where visitors can skim over the rational texts rather quickly and are also left with emotional impression through the animations.
Wireflows made the overall story-flow of the page apparent and displayed the navigation paths on the page itself as well as onto external pages. Based on them the team discussed the order and weighting of content. Because the page does not have many subpages altogether, the individual wireframes were populated with real texts to estimate the length of the pages.
The concept was illustrated, animated, designed and implemented by the digital agency BOOM from Hamburg. We collaborated closely to ensure that the essential ideas are not just implemented as intended, but also that the user experience was maximized. Nevertheless, one or the other darling had to be killed due to time or complexity reasons.
The Privacy Hub was launched at the end of April 2018. The Executive Board/CEO announced this development to all XING members via an e-mail. Due to the great attention paid to the GDPR, the site was increasingly used by members to inform themselves about security precautions or to obtain data information.
The data protection officer of the city of Hamburg especially praised the privacy hub for its high transparency and its exemplary preparation of the data policy. A number of blogs have also made positive comments on how XING carried out the initiative.
The working atmosphere at XING can be characterized by a familiar and constructive-feedback valuing work culture. In addition, the project was interesting in terms of the political aspects: The team was specially set up for this project and the diverse stakeholders hence had different ideas and requirements. For me it was an inspiring task to listen carefully, reading between the lines and find the right arguments to stay user centric.
Until then, I had not had the opportunity to work with and for a product company that really integrates UCD principles into their corporate DNA and integrates every detail of user testing in their day-to-day work. The UX design and research colleagues at XING are particularly experienced and incorporate the necessary sensitivity and empathy into their work. This user-oriented collaboration has taught me once more that it is very important as a designer to keep in mind that the user knows better.