72 questions about the impact of your digital product

By Alexandra Deschamps-Sonsino

Human Values Questionnaire

Finally it’s my great pleasure to share some questions you may want to ask yourself if you’re building a digital product.

Some of them relate to the product and the experience people have of it, some of them might relate to how your organisation functions. These questions are the result of many months of translating the BBC R&D’s work on human values into a tool for digital decision-making. We’re listing them all here so that they’re accessible to most people and we’ll be sharing a quiz format shortly.

Achieving goals & Receiving recognition

This section is all about making sure people using your service are able to achieve their goals by supporting them, motivating them and removing distractions. It’s also about how you provide external validation that boosts a person’s self-esteem.

  1. Do you use positively phrased language to support people to achieve their goals?
  2. Do you have processes in place to help when people get stuck?
  3. Do you mitigate against unnecessary distractions? How?
  4. Do you enable people to have manual control of notification tools?
  5. Do you design for different levels of engagement for the service or product? (e.g. active, passive, superuser)
  6. Do you personalise your service based on the persons’ income, ethnicity, sexual preference, gender or any other protected characteristic (e.g. by the Charter of Human Rights?) Why?
  7. Is it clear when recognition/praise is user or service generated?

Being inspired and Exploring the world.

This section is about the means people are given to explore, discover and their ability to express themselves with the product or services you build.

  1. Have the last 3 advertising campaigns you have produced used people from a range of ethnic backgrounds? (Using services like: Black Illustrations , Cut out Mix, Cut-outs)
  2. Do you self-report or publicly disclose any digital manipulation?
  3. Do you discuss your algorithmic procedures with your team?
  4. Do you offer mechanisms for discovery? (eg. recommendations, curated content)
  5. Do you offer mechanisms for exploration? (eg. search bar)
  6. Is content discovery an automated process?
  7. Do you disclose your algorithmic procedures publicly?
  8. Do you use plain language to describe those algorithmic procedures. (eg. Crystal Mark)

Being safe and well

This section focuses on assessing whether you protect people’s safety and wellbeing.

  1. Can people with cognitive impairments receive important information about your service in a variety of formats? (screen reader, braille, captions, transcripts)
  2. Do you have processes to assess whether your information is transparent to people?
  3. Do you have parental control tools?
  4. Do you maintain a list of offensive language and culturally inappropriate content? Do you have procedures in place to address the use of anything on this list by staff or customers?
  5. Do you have procedures in place to address the use of anything on this list by staff or customers?
  6. Do you have a default setting to auto-renew a subscription/after a trial period?
  7. Do you provide aftercare for customers? In what format?
  8. Do you force action from a person in a time-based manner (e.g. using countdown)?
  9. Do you require a person’s consent for any additional costs?
  10. Do you have ways to mitigate against customers going into debt to use your product?
  11. Can a person turn off all your notifications with one action?
  12. Do you make default notifications settings clear?
  13. Do you explicitly build mechanisms to keep a person on your platform for longer to serve your financial objectives? (e.g autoplay)

Belonging to a group and connecting with others

This section is about how people have the means and ability to build a sense of community while using your service or product.

  1. Do you use gender coded language? (eg. http://gender-decoder.katmatfield.com/about)
  2. Do you price your products differently according to the gender of a person?
  3. Do you support the creation of employee groups or networks inside your organisation?
  4. Do you have processes in place that allow employees to report unacceptable behaviour? (e.g. bullying, hate speech)
  5. How often do you test your product with people from a variety of ethnicities?
  6. Do you help people identify groups or communities they could join as part of your product/service?
  7. If you offer the ability for people to join communities, do they have access to moderation tools?
  8. Do you publish an annual modern slavery statement?
  9. Do you conduct background checks for your employees?
  10. Can people using your service clearly identify an unverified account?
  11. Can people discover others who also use your product/service?
  12. Do you help people manage what information they share with others by default?
  13. Do you have methods to help people find others with shared interests?

Feeling impactful & Growing myself

This section is about the ability for people to contribute and have an impact in the world as well as the learning and development opportunities that emerge from using a product or service.

  1. Do you have processes in place that enable your employees to support wider initiatives going on in society?
  2. Do you allow people to share their level of expertise with others outside the product/service?
  3. Can your employees develop skills that could be formally recognised/accredited elsewhere?
  4. Do you provide opportunities for active learning (save for later, bookmarking, tutorials)?
  5. Do you restrict people from increasing their level of expertise? eg. through financial or other barriers
  6. Do you allow people to share their level of expertise with others using the product/service?
  7. Do you make editorial choices to encourage progression in the development of skills?

Having autonomy & stability

This section is about assessing the impact of your product/service on people’s sense of autonomy, how they feel secure and how they might build trust and assurance.

  1. Do you have key performance indicators associated with how customer service is handled by your organisation?
  2. Do you regularly review your product experience?
  3. Do you have a data officer in place to handle GDPR related issues?
  4. Do you give people control over the way the service represents them? (e.g configuring their profile)
  5. Do you highlight any revisions to your content? (e.g. published date, addendums/retractions)
  6. Are people able to delete their profile and personal data from your service?
  7. Do you highlight in plain language how people’s data is being used by the product or service?
  8. Do you offer ways to limit usage of your product based on criteria a person can set (for eg. time or time of the day?)
  9. Do you allow people to opt-out of your direct marketing campaigns based on their collected data?
  10. Do you stress-test your systems? (e.g. load balancing, ddos)
  11. Do you provide guidance for using the product or service? (e.g. FAQs, help/about section)
  12. Do you offer 24h/7 support for people using your product/service?
  13. Do you offer 24h/7 support for employees?
  14. Do you offer alternative communication channels in the event of service downtime?
  15. Do you warn people using your service of any future planned maintenance?

Pursuing pleasure.

  1. Do you review the way that pleasureable and non-pleasureable activities are designed into your service?
  2. Do you monetise the enhanced experience/higher tier of your service?
  3. Do you actively punish people who are choosing not to pay for your service? (e.g. reduced quality)

Understanding & expressing myself

This section is about how your product helps a person gain a clear sense of who they are or helps them express their identity through personality, attitudes and behaviour.

  1. Do you offer private or incognito mode of accessing/exploring your service?
  2. Do you show how your service is being used over time by a person? (e.g history or patterns of use)
  3. Do you have metrics on how customer/user feedback is processed by your team?
  4. Do you have processes in place to capture employee feedback? (eg. whistleblowing hotline)
  5. Do you provide personalisation options for people using your service/product?
  6. Do you have mechanisms for people to leave feedback?

Most of these questions require a Y/N answer and you should be able to tell which answers are desirable or not. They act as a starting point to engage people who are building a whole range of digital products but we’re also curious about when these questions don’t apply and why.

We’ll be exploring these questions in a virtual workshop on September 28th on Zoom from 11am to 1pm UK time.