Designing for Privacy-Preserving Smart Spaces

PI: James Landay


As buildings become more intelligent, indoor spaces will become attuned and responsive to occupants’ mental and physical states and needs. Such hybrid physical-digital spaces have the potential to improve occupant wellbeing, but will necessarily depend on ubiquitous sensing and data collection. Thus, privacy is an integral concern in the design of hybrid physical-digital spaces and must be accounted for at every stage of the design process. Currently, it is unclear how designers ought best to anticipate potential privacy implications of these smart systems, communicate these implications in a way that empowers users to make informed decisions, and evaluate design solutions in terms of their impact on user attitudes and agency. In this proposal, we outline our plans to study and support the design of privacy-preserving smart spaces through a participatory design workshop, a large-scale online user study, and a longitudinal field study in a real smart office environment. Our research aims to identify a set of reusable design practices and patterns to assist designers in developing user-centered privacy-preserving smart spaces.


Sarah Billington, Nava Haghighi, Matthew Jörke, Michelle Lam