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There things we can learn about human behavior.

Until recently there was no way to precisely learn the behavior patterns of a population demographic that took place in an offline, brick and mortar setting. These behavior patterns would help in improving the overall seamless experience for the end user. To attempt to collect this data would be taboo (in the eyes of users). With stories of how the NSA and Homeland security is watching our every move it creates a desire within us to hold tightly to what we share about our every day activity. Most commonly brick and mortar shops use “people counting systems” to get a general idea for how many customers enter and leave their commercial spaces.

People like control over what they share about their behavior.

In the early days of the Internet it was common to not use your real photo, name and precise location. As mentioned in the article “The Risks of not having a LinkedIn Profile Picture” we notice how now the opposite reaction happens on the Internet. If you don’t take the time to add a photo of yourself, people will immediately have concern over the legitimacy of your profile.

What changed?

Brands have begun to get smart about how they’re crafting experiences for their products. We’re seeing more design decisions to deliberately withhold access to products unless the end user shares their data with the brand. This is accomplished by providing convenience in exchange for data.

For example, when you sign up for a service like Spotify, a time saving convenience of single sign-on through Facebook is only possible if we exchange our basic profile information. This information includes your profile photo, full name, email address, location, and other general information about you. The value that Facebook and Spotify’s services bring outweigh the anxiety of them knowing who we are and what we look like, and therefore we happily share our data.

Questions to Ponder.

What value or convenience would a mall or a municipality need to provide to get users to opt-into tracking their behavior patterns? And could those brands get users to share their location, gender, age, and interests with the brands around them? How are brands building products that collect this type of information appropriately?

Join us in the conversation on @perfecthq on twitter with #privacy or in the comments below.

Mike Gonzalez is the founder of Perfect, and spends his time working with organizations to craft great experiences. Connect with us to find out more information about the experiment demonstrated in this article or to find ways to future proof your products. Get in Touch

Originally published at on September 1, 2015.