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Trust in home: rethinking interface design in the Internet of Things

The aim of the project is to foster collaboration within an interdisciplinary community in the area of user-friendly trust management interfaces for IoT in smart home settings.

IoT systems need to be discussed from a view of UX/UI and IoT design. A rudimentary and catch-all approach to safeguard IoT systems is through access control infrastructures, which require high levels of privacy and security expertise to administer them. This area is currently an under-research requiring interdisciplinary expertise from computer science, communications engineering, Human-Computer Interaction, user-centric design, and law. To this end, the THRIDI project fills a critical gap by using creative design approaches in eliciting understandings around the perceptions of the functions, value and ethics of IoT smart home devices among multidisciplinary stakeholders.

The project objectives include:

  1. To run an interdisciplinary two-day design workshop with a mix of experts from academia, industry, and public sector and early-career researchers, specialising in IoT, network security, privacy-enhancing technologies, user-interface design, law, and policy.
  2. Chart out new approaches to legibility, agency and negotiability for data sharing in IoT. We will investigate technical methods and standards that can support a user-centric design for building user trust. These new approaches will consider the technical, legal and business barriers and opportunities that will shape the implementation.
  3. Create working groups of suitable academic and industrial partners to focus on the open research questions identified in the workshop. We aim to develop project proposals for obtaining funding for cooperative research projects and specifically, other user-led design workshops with focus groups composed of identified stakeholder groups (i.e., elderly care groups in a smart healthcare scenario).
  4. Disseminate the output of the workshop in a report to inform the community of user-centric design methods for meaningful access control in IoT.

The starting point was a workshop held in November 2020, which represented a valuable opportunity to define the scope, approaches and priorities for future research, and also to highlight research and industry interests that can lead to further collaboration. The workshop aimed to create a free-thinking and collaborative environment, involving 25-30 participants using online collaboration and communication tools.

Following the workshop we have concluded that IoT systems in smart homes present several privacy challenges. While GDPR creates a general duty for data controllers to implement privacy by default and privacy by design, this obligation requires taking into account the state-of-the-art. However, the state-of-the-art in the smart home context is in its infancy, requiring research into building accountability and trust via the appropriate design of user interface and access control systems. One of the aims of THRIDI was to foster community discussion and collaboration among a multidisciplinary group of experts and early-career researchers in a design workshop. There was a strong sense of collegiality and lively discussions throughout the workshop, where interesting themes emerged for further research and exploration.

Upcoming workshops

33rd British Human-Computer Interaction Conference

19-21 July (Online) - London, UK:  Trust in Home – Rethinking Interface Design in IoT


13 Sep 2021 (Online), 9:30am-5pm BST

The workshop is especially suited to researchers in academia, industry, and the public sector specialising in IoT, network security, privacy-enhancing technologies, user interface design, law, and policy. The workshop requires you to brainstorm and apply design thinking to different scenarios with other researchers you may not know. The aim is to chart out some of the challenges in this space and develop initial ideas of design solutions that may underpin future collaborative opportunities.


Meet the Principal Investigator(s) for the project

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Partnering with confidence

Organisations interested in our research can partner with us with confidence backed by an external and independent benchmark: The Knowledge Exchange Framework. Read more.

Project last modified 28/03/2022