User Experience Monitoring (UXM): how does privacy and legislation fit into it?
A PC that freezes occasionally, applications that won’t launch, unpredictable internet connectivity or lagging response times. Every user will recognize these problems. User Experience Monitoring (UXM) can help you speed up the troubleshooting process. But wait… monitoring your users – how does privacy and legislation fit into that?
An interview with Rob Dekker on User Experience Monitoring: objective user experience monitoring was published on LinkedIn last week. Clearly, if you really want to know about what your users are experiencing, that means looking at what they are doing. In this short interview with Rob Dekker, we will take a closer look at what this means in terms of privacy and legislation.
Is monitoring users legal?
“No, it’s not. User Experience Monitoring is about monitoring the user experience. It’s certainly not about monitoring the users themselves. UXM tooling is not designed to check up on how productive your staff are, whether they visiting Facebook too often or sending private emails.
And if that’s what you want to find out, this definitely isn’t the way to do it. But you will need to think about how you will communicate with your staff about UXM, and how to handle privacy issues. What will be logged and what won’t be logged?
You have to remember that what we find acceptable here in the Netherlands is not acceptable everywhere in the world. Suppose we decided to log all the websites that every user visits. As an employer, you’d prefer not to see Facebook or news websites among the most-visited sites, because they probably have nothing to do with work. And if there are adult websites or racist forums, that would be an even bigger problem.
But when we think about other countries, where people have less freedom than we do here, there might also be serious problems if there were gay websites or anti-government forums among the websites visited. So UXM will look quite different in a country like India or Russia than it does in the Netherlands. Sometimes you can make a deliberate choice not to log certain activities, usually in consultation with the privacy officer of the country concerned.“
How do you communicate about UXM with the user? Do they know that tracking is going on? Do they know what can and can’t be seen?
“Yes and no. Of course, staff need to know what is being monitored. And they also need to consent to that specifically.
In practice, that’s more difficult than you might think. What often happens is that employees are shown a general message when they start up their PC or laptop. They need to confirm that they understand that everything can be monitored, and they need to agree to that. And then it seems that all the legal requirements have been complied with.
You could compare this to accepting the terms and conditions of a new iOS update, which hardly anyone bothers to read. People aren’t really interested, and at the same time the process puts people off. It would take a long time to read through all those terms and conditions. That’s a shame, because they’re important.
So you need to find the right balance. Use clear language to inform staff about which privacy-sensitive information could be logged, and give some examples. As far as I’m concerned, that could be added to the personnel guide or made part of the onboarding process. I would advise every organization to think about this.”
Would you like to read more about User Experience Monitoring?
In an extensive interview with Rob, we delve deeper into the opportunities that User Experience Monitoring offers. You can read it on our website: “You have no idea how often issues occur but NO call is made to the help desk!”
Would you like to learn more about User Experience Monitoring or one of our other modules within Digital Transformation? Then why not get in touch with Gert Veldhuis at firstname.lastname@example.org or on +31 (0)85 – 487 29 01?
You can also read the other interviews in our Modular Digital Transformation series. If you would like to receive these in your mailbox automatically, sign up for our newsletter!
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