development quickfix ux

Thinking outside the box: the difference between constraints and perceptions

You need an app.

The constraint is that it has to be accessible.
The perception is that it has to be screen reader friendly.

But… That excludes deaf people who miss the audio cues in the app
… That misses the option to add voice control. If it’s a booking app, why not talk through the booking?

The constraint is that users need to be notified (it’s a legal requirement)
The perception is that only one channel is acceptable (must be post, must be a tracked email)

But… each user has their own preference, or accessibility baseline. Post only may help, or hinder, victims of abuse. I can’t guarantee that you’ve read a letter, but I can guarantee you’ve hit the “I read this” button.

The constraint is that you need to mark and control personal and sensitive data because of GDPR, and you need informed consent to do that

The perception is that making users click “I agree” is informed consent
The perception is that gaining consent absolves you of responsibility to mark and control personal data “because they agreed to our terms and conditions”
The perception is that location data isn’t sensitive, even though Google knows your home and work address, and the address of the abortion clinic, the LGBT nightclub, the local mosque, the local love hotel


3 replies on “Thinking outside the box: the difference between constraints and perceptions”

Good info… One clarification…In the section on notification: legal requirements must ALWAYS supersede and user or vendor preference.


Agreed, but I remember being in a 2 hour workshop with some lawyers trying to determine what the meaning of “notified” was – did it have to be postal, was email sufficient, was an “unread notifications” indicator sufficient, was making the notifications available over an API compliant?

Even when there’s legal requirements, there’s a difference between the contraint and the perception.

In our case, thankfully, the lawyers from our side and the lawyers from the only other party named in the act were able to sign a memorandum of understanding that electronic notifications were sufficient to meet the intent of the law – that an individual who entered procedings in one had to be recorded as such by the other.


Indeed. I used to do forensic computing analysis. Was a huge case. Eventually got settled, not on technical merits, but on the differences between “will”, “should” and “shall”… Thankfully those types of things are for the legal team, not the general developer. <>

Liked by 1 person

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