Inventory of alternative Designer groups in France, example of the CNIL

By Romain 24-07-2019


A feedback from the Design and Personal Data workshop organized by the CNIL on July 2 at the Tank, in the midst of the emergence of Design community platforms in France

LINC, the CNIL’s1laboratory of digital innovation (CNIL written backwards), has been particularly active in recent months on Design topics. It conducts experiments, publishes synthesis reports and leads an open community to facilitate access and sharing of information.

A brief overview of this approach, following Romain's participation in the last workshop led by the LINC team a few days ago at the premises of the third place2 Le Tank located near Bastille.


Background: an introductory event at the Gobelins School

Let's go back to the beginning of 2019, on January 17, at the Gobelins School, the LINC organized a thematic evening around the publication of its 6th Innovation and Prospective section entitled "The Form of Choices" (source).

Its theme is the impact of design on data and freedom protection, in particular "personal and design data, and desirable frictions".


After a presentation of the workbook (access to the document) by the LINC team (Estelle Harry, Régis Chatellier and Geoffrey Delcroix), a round table was proposed, with the question: "Is another design possible?" as a common thread. The opportunity to share some feedback with the testimonies of :

  • Célia Hodent, cognitive psychologist, consultant specialized in the UX of videogame
  • Hubert Guillaud, FING, exploration "Retro-Design de l’attention"
  • Marie Potel, co-founder of Dot.Legal, legal design agency
  • Karl Pineau, co-President of the Designers Ethiques association
  • Corinne Moreau, head of "Strategy, Design & User Experience », Backstory

A brief summary of the evening seen by Romain, our Creative Technologist working with the af83 Design team :


1/ A work of teaching that is still as necessary as ever

  • A shared observation: the place of the Designer in his company is still difficult, often isolated between two departments. He takes part in collectives on an individual basis and takes his pilgrim's staff to spread good practices.
  • Scientific validation: shout out to Luc Besson's Lucy film, which still conveys completely false notions about neurosciences, the infamous neuromyths
  • Creating bridges between training courses: reference to the work carried out with design schools but also a need to bring design into all training courses with the example of lawyers and the emergence of #LegalDesign (references to work in Singapore and school projects 42 in particular)
  • Relying on the community to help each other: in particular the Franco-Luxembourgish association Flupa which addresses UX professionals and organizes the UX Days every year

2/ Alternatives to current metrics

Companies use marketing techniques (i.e. A/B testing) and persuasion with users. Meanwhile, Designer are often relegated to the background and have a limited impact.
It then appears necessary to collectively explore alternatives to the current (business-)models, based on these metrics from Marketing. Or in other words, find a quantifiable value to highlight the negative impacts of attention design (also called captology) and address the question of the "profitability" of another design.

3/ An evolution of methods

Here is a summary of the ideas mentioned by the speakers :

  • A step back : one of the approaches used is a "reverse engineering" of design practices - such as the retro-design of the attention by the Fing - in order to take a step back on current methods and co-construct shared and open good practices
  • Community reflections : the association Designer éthique, is trying to develop a new approach that aims to remix agile methods; the Collectif BAM emphasizes the ethical values that we want to transmit in a product
  • The legislative approach : set up a "Attention Protection Officer" position similar to the DPO (Data Protection Officer) of the CNIL at the time of the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulations). China, concerned by extreme video game practices, has blocked the marketing of some games on its territory in order to limit their impact on the population (captology).

4. Emergence of an awareness

Hubert mentioned, for example, tools that are now being implemented on some platforms and operating systems to track time spent individually, such as Apple's “Screen time” function.

Today, it is considered not very effective in making real adjustments to users' activities, but it does initially raise awareness. If it spreads massively and leads to a boycott of the most harmful tools, companies will be forced to react by changing their paradigm in the face of a certain "fed up" from the consumers. This is in line with the more specific notion of "Consent Disorder" dear to the CNIL around the exploitation of personal data #PrivacyByDesign.

Launch of an open platform: Data & Design

Source : CNIL's blog


“Data & Design is a platform that aims to create opportunities for collaboration and exchange between designers to co-construct privacy-friendly paths” — Source blog sur


This platform, directly accessible from, is structured in 3 parts :

  • Information sheets allowing everyone to appropriate the keys concepts
  • Case studies, co-constructed through workshops such as the one detailed below, to illustrate the application of concepts
  • Exchange spaces, notably via a communauté Slack a tool massively used by Designers


This place is intended to be gradually and collectively enriched, in particular through the workshops organized by the CNIL.


Community workshops on practical cases

A workshop was held on the evening of July 2 at Le Tank managed by Spintank. Romain was there again.


“This practical workshop will propose to think concretely about informing people and obtaining consent in the case of an online sales service. If you are a designer or have questions about the design of your product or service for personal data protection, this workshop is for you. This workshop is an opportunity to reflect and build together new user experiences that respect their privacy and allow them to keep control of their data.”

Source : invitation eventbrite


The evening was divided into 3 parts.


1/ Introduction

Presentation of the LINC approach and the "Data and Design" platform by Régis Chatellier. Then of the use case and the progress of the workshop, by Estelle Harry. The exercise consists in imagining the operation of an e-commerce site based on best practices applied to the management of personal data.


2/ Brainstorming by group

Divided into groups of 4 or 5 people, we start with a round table to get to know each other briefly, then we build a persona and a fictitious company sheet using the template provided. 

The exercise then consists in creating wireframes including all the steps leading to the purchase of an item on the site, detailing for each of them :
  • Actions required by the user
  • The data collected or processed by the company
  • Applicable concepts: Information, Consent and Rights

To do this, a second template and a set of cards detailing the different concepts by category were used, both provided by the LINC team.


3/ Collective restitution

To close this evening, each team presented in a few minutes the fruit of its reflections, which allowed to discuss the different strategies adopted, often very original, to guarantee the respect of privacy and allow our people to keep control of their data.



Next steps: mix of initiatives and French collective?

We are already seeing contributions and a growing community on Slack.
This first use case will be synthesized and made freely available online, along with the various resources (models and maps) on the "Data and Design" platform. 
A new cycle of practical workshops is planned at the beginning of the school year by the LINC team, covering a new use case. Therefore, to be continued!
It seems interesting to us to observe and contribute to the exchanges initiated between the various initiatives and collectives in France, which are experimenting with new approaches to our businesses. Here is Romain’s top 3 :


Meanwhile, the DITP is working on behavioural science tools to encourage change, which could be associated with "nudges". The result of a study on ecological transition have been posted online, as well as the applied methodology.

It will be interesting to compare these emerging practices with collectives abroad. One of the most noteworthy is Stanford's “Persuasive Tech Lab”!




Article written by Romain ROUYER, Creative Technologist at af83.

Thanks to Cyrille ASSIRE, Executive Director and Lead Designer for the proofreading.

Thanks to Théodore PERRY, Office Manager for the english translation


The Commission nationale de l'informatique et des libertés (CNIL) is an independent French administrative authority. Its main role is to "Protect personal data, support innovation, preserve individual freedoms" — Source

The third place refers to social environments that come after home and work (source : Wikipedia). Discover the Manifeste des Tiers Lieux by Movilab to get more informations.



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