Kate Towsey

ResearchOps Consultant


Stuff you collect about users: what you make, where it goes and how to keep it safe

In engaging with users, it’s likely that you collect a lot of information about them. So where does it go? What should be kept securely, and what can be stored anywhere? Should you keep it at all? Particularly with the advent of GDPR, these are questions I hear all the time.

In this interactive session, you’ll work in groups of five to map out all the things you collect about users: what you collect, where it ends up, and all its touch points on the way. This may sound simple, but people are usually really surprised at what they learn. I often hear, “I had no idea I collected so much personal stuff!” We’ll then analyse consistencies across the groups and work together to devise lightweight suggestions to improve what we’re doing right now. The session will end with best practice tips from years of experience of working with big organisations on this very thing.

You’ll walk away with a better understanding of what constitutes personal data, what data you’re collecting and where it goes (plus the beginnings of a physical map to document it), how to engage with your internal teams to make things better, and a sense of how others in the industry are grappling with similar issues. You’re not alone.

About Kate Towsey

Kate's been working in digital since 2004, as a project manager, content strategist and then a user researcher. She's spent the best part of the last five years user researching user researchers - it's meta! She specialises in research operations: she designed and delivered user research infrastructure - labs, panels, media archives - and worked on research data security for clients such as GDS and Co-op Digital.

When not working on 'ResearchOps', Kate works as a user researcher. An ex-journalist and content strategist, Kate also edits books for tech publications and rarely says no to a wordsmithing opportunity. Kate has a long-term love of India and she's learning Hindi. She's also currently studying for a diploma in Naturopathic Nutrition.