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Data Privacy and Security with Smart Home Devices

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Project Overview

Improvement to transparency and privacy for smart home device applications requires ease of accessing information. To develop a solution to this problem, we conducted user interviews, consulted with an expert, and analyzed data. The final product is a culmination of our research and process that resulted in user-centered solutions to data privacy and security for smart home devices.

Fall 2021
4 weeks



User Interviews, Problem Solving

Spoorthi Cherivirala, Shannon Lin, Anthony Pan

User Interviews, Data Analysis, Solution Development, Icon creation



Problem Space

​There is an increasing stigma of data collection and security for smart home devices that stems from lack of clear communication of privacy policies. ​When users don't understand how their data is handled, mistrust occurs and can cause unnecessary discontinued use of the device.


Research Methods


  • College Students

  • Older generation


  • User Interviews


  • Survey Results

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Qualitative Data

Interviewed a field expert and eight student users.

Key Insights:

  • Paradox​ between personalization and information privacy

  • Less privacy concern for younger users

  • Unawareness of privacy policies

  • Smart Home device user perspective

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Quantitative Data

Language data from user interviews was analyzed to understand the confidence of knowledge and survey data was used to gain a general consensus of smart home skepticism.

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User Centered Solution 01

Increasing awareness about existing smart home device features regarding data security and privacy

  • Most users don't know all of the smart home device's capabilities 

  • Low overhead cost build on existing features and solutions

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User Centered Solution 02

Redesign the UI of the accompanying smart home device app for clarity, organization, and information flow.

  • Prevents confusion and increases user confidence of understanding the device

  • Make customizing data privacy options easier 

  • Increase accessibility of the device and app UI

Assumptions and Weaknesses

A main weakness of our research and solutions was caused by a small and specific sample size of user data. 

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Design Principles

During the process of researching and problem solving, we mainly utilized three design principles: mental models, personas, and Ockham's razor.

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