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How Ikea is handing data control over to its customers

A new set of transparent tools puts privacy front and center, earning the company recognition from the 2020 Innovation by Design Awards.

How Ikea is handing data control over to its customers
[Image: courtesy Work & Co]

For all their talk of transparency, most companies continue to make it difficult for consumers to exert control over their personal data. Ikea wanted to approach the issue differently, and collaborated with digital product firm Work & Co on a new set of digital tools that put privacy front and center. Customers can choose if and how their browsing and purchase histories are used to inform product recommendations, as well as how long Ikea keeps their data. Unlike many sites, which make privacy options almost impossible to find, Ikea’s data controls are seamlessly integrated into the shopping experience—users can swipe up to view and change their preferences at any time. “There is real value being exchanged,” says Dever Thomas, associate design partner at Work & Co. “[Many] people know what a personalized experience is and want that in exchange for being tracked. It builds trust.” Future features will let users see exactly how a given data point influences the search algorithm or changes the personalized recommendations. “I hope this leads to a larger paradigm shift,” says Thomas. “Instead of signing away all of your rights by pressing an ‘okay’ button when you first land on an app, [you] understand how data is used.”

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See more honorees from the 2020 Innovation by Design Awards here.

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