Publications and Research

Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 2-24-2022


According to research at the Me2B Alliance, people feel they have a relationship with technology. It’s emotional. It’s embodied. And it’s very personal. We are studying digital relationships to answer questions like “Do people have a relationship with technology?” “What does that relationship feel like?” And “Do people understand the commitments that they are making when they explore, enter into and dissolve these relationships?” There are parallels between messy human relationships and the kinds of relationships that people develop with technology. As with human relationships, we move through states of discovery, commitment and breakup with digital applications as well. Technology enables data sharing at every point of the relationship arc, including after you stop using it. Worryingly, even our more trusted digital relationships may not be safe. Most of the technologies that you (and your children) use have relationships with third party data brokers and others with whom they share your data. Each privacy policy, cookie consent and terms of use document on every website or mobile app you use defines a legal relationship, whether you choose to opt in or are locked in by some other process. That means you have a legal relationship with each of these entities from the moment you accessed the app or website, and in most cases, it’s one that you initiated and agreed to. In this article, I discuss a specification for safe and respectfully designed digital technologies and how I applied information architecture principles to provide a solid framework for understanding digital relationships as well as structuring meaning. Because we aren’t just designing information spaces. We’re designing healthy relationships.



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