Mark Rolston Talks GDPR and Design With Fast Company

To prepare for the General Data Protection Regulation May 25th deadline, Fast Co.Design published a guide to Europe’s far-reaching new privacy law explaining how it’s requirements would impact the work of designers around the world. The guide broke down GDPR through featured insights from privacy experts and prominent leaders in the design community including Mark Rolston, founder and chief creative officer of argodesign.

The guide emphasized how designers will be unable to plead ignorance about data regulations because they will be required to understand the databases and underlying technology that powers their products. Sarah Gold, CEO of London-based privacy and design organization Projects By IF, described the challenges designers will face when telling users how to delete their data from machine learning systems. And with GDPR poised to become a crucial part of the design process, product teams will no longer be able to ignore what data is collected and shared by their product.

Designers are now required to think more about GDPR during brainstorming. Despite Mark Rolston pointing out how “things will cost more to do”, he remained excited about taking this necessary step into the future and noted that, “we’ve been in this juvenile stage playing around with a lot more power than we’ve respected.”

In designing for GDPR, Gadi Amit, the founder and principal of the San Francisco-based agency NewDealDesign highlighted how the responsibilities and cost can make a bad design a pricey liability for business models based purely on data collection. While most business solutions will create a dashboard with data sharing permissions, Tiago Luchi, a partner of technology at the New York-based agency Work & Co, illustrated a concept he calls “micro-consent” which transparently informs the users of the implications of their data sharing decisions. Rolston agreed with Luchi and stated, “Privacy becomes a virtue that gets communicated through the interface.”

While some believed the GDPR law isn’t enough, it has led the way for design culture to change and has given designers an opportunity to help improve the legislation. The designers who spoke with Fast Co.Design came to the consensus that GDPR aligned with their views on good design and user experience, and with more data standards to follow, they are optimistic that the change will be positive for both users and business.


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