Defining Data Literacy and Building Trust – How to Include User Perspectives

Talk + Q&A | Thursday 24nd September, 4:30pm – 4:50pm CEST

Over the past years, experts and the public expressed vocal criticism on current data practices across domains in the digital economy. Striking examples involving big tech companies have illustrated what can go wrong in terms of public trust and data collection, data analysis and the usage of data. Professionals are aware of the (economic and legal) root causes and started to critically reflect on their own roles in the process. The goal is to learn from the past and change society’s perception of technology for the better. This implies a redefinition of value and striving for more transparency, respect for privacy needs, and a stronger inclusion of the user in data practices (collection, analysis, outcomes) during the design process. This all amounts to an additional layer of ‘engagement’.

Trust took a toll and needs repair. However, to build sustainable and trust-based relationships in the digital society, it is crucial to understand users’ awareness, perception, and evaluation of the technologies that designers offer to them, i.e. their data literacy. Perspectives can vary considerably between professionals and laymen of what the costs and benefits of a data-driven solution actually are.

The main aim of this talk is to provide a definition of data literacy and how organisations and designers, especially information architects, can identify different types of users with specific data information needs. It explains when users care (or don’t care) about data collection and how professionals can engage in dialogues that foster trust through inclusion. It provides a blueprint for inclusive, user-focused data practices. Several current examples (such as “Corona apps”) serve for illustrating both the necessity and value of such an approach to develop sustainable and ethical relationships with the target audience in the long-term. The talk thus offers a toolset for hands-on research strategies on the matter.

Dennis Nguyen