Garry Irwin

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I’m a 27 year old Designer with a love of clean typography and even cleaner code. In my day job I work for Instil where I create cool things for the internet, and in my free time I’m quite partial to a video game or six. I’m also pretty good at growing beards.

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A little background

It's often been said that "if an online service is free, then you are the product" - this has never been as true as it is today. Personal data has become a commodity, something bought and sold to the highest bidder. In the wake of various scandals in the last few years, users have decided to step up and try to take back control of their privacy but they often don't know where to start. I'm someone that cares deeply about privacy and I decided to do something about that.

Each of us has a device (or multiple!) that tracks our location at every step, every website we visit and every purchase made right in our pocket, and we think nothing of it. I figured why not use that same device to pass on knowledge that I've learned and hopefully help users take the first steps to protect their privacy. That's where I came up with the idea for Privacybase.

What is Privacybase?

Simply put: Privacybase is an online privacy knowledgebase, created for mobile phones. During initial research, I found out that there were no ways to quickly access impartial Privacy information on a mobile device, there are some websites that are very good, and totally trustworthy but none of them are native to mobile. Initially I had envisioned Privacybase becoming a progressive web app, where users could save the webpage to their home screen, and access content when and if they needed it.

After conducting further research, I decided to create 3 key categories for all content: News - for privacy-related news, Articles - for interesting and impartial articles related to privacy and Tools - for any tools that privacy seekers may find interesting. With this decision made I simply had to come up with what it was actually going to look like.

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My Process

I started off the project by doing some market research, early on I was using my sister - someone who is almost completely technologically illiterate and has no idea about privacy, as a user persona. I decided tht in order to fully grasp viewpoints and thoughts that I should ask a variety of people from all walks of life. Research was undertaken in two main areas, The first being reddit's /r/privacy subreddit, where I asked things such as what they thought I should include and if the project was even worth pursuing. I also created a typeform that was spread around some family members and their colleagues, as well as on online forums and chatrooms. After getting relatively favourable feedback, and having plenty of food for thought, I decided to carry on with the project.

Having some familiarity with creating online services, I decided to make a number of templates that I could later populate with content so I started off by getting some ideas down on paper and exploring potential flows. Once I was happy with this, I used Adobe XD to quickly prototype up a series of wireframes and explore ways that my various pages and categories interacted with each other. Once I was hapy with the UX, I started into the UI, creating a cohesive design language using atomic design principles that could be quickly altered and edited as the project evolved. As things often do, this design language changed multiple times, but I feel like in the end the system works for it's intended purpose.

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The Outcome

Privacybase as it stands now is an almost complete realisation of what I had initially wanted to do. Thanks to the current world climate and uncertainty around deadlines, certain concessions were made and certain features had to be sadly cut, such as the plan to make it a Progressive Web App.

All in, I created an app prototype, all branding, an accompanying promotional website and various promotional materials. I think that I'd like to see the project fully realised one day but for now I'm -almost- happy with where it is.

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