Understanding Privacy: A New Smashing Book Is Here Articles on Smashing Magazine — For Web Designers And Developers hello@smashingmagazine.com (Vitaly Friedman)

To many of us, privacy might feel like a complex, abstract concept. We can’t hold privacy in our hands, we can’t touch it, we can’t explore its volume or shape with our eyes or our fingertips. Surely it’s a part of each of us, yet it feels so intangible and so invisible — beyond reach and out of view.

So what is privacy? What exactly does it mean? How do we consider, manage and maintain privacy? And how dow do we design and build experiences that have privacy at their heart? That’s exactly what Understanding Privacy is all about: a practical guide to privacy on the web, from data collection and use of personal data to creating safe, inclusive experiences for everyone. Jump to table of contents ↓

eBook now available.
Printed books start shipping in November 2022.
Download a free PDF sample (11MB)
Get the book (Print Hardcover + eBook)

About The Book

Understanding Privacy is a practical guide to the concepts and ideas that inform privacy on the web. It’s about all the fundamental values of privacy as a concept, which precede privacy as a legal compliance issue. It’s about the ways these concepts impact your work as a designer, a developer, or a project manager. And it’s about the ways you can adopt these principles to create a healthy, user-centric approach to privacy in everything you do.

Heather Burns, a tech policy and regulation specialist, explains what she has experienced working on privacy from every angle — human rights, law, policy, and web development — in the simplest way possible, and in the most positive way possible, in ways you can understand, use, and adapt in your work on the web right away.

All chapters in the book have custom illustrations, highlighting the topic of the book.

This book is not a legal reference manual. After reading it, you will have shifted your understanding from a negative view of privacy as a scary legal compliance obligation to a positive view of privacy as an opportunity to build and design a better web. Download a free PDF sample (11MB).

288 pages. Written by Heather Burns. Cover design by Espen Brunborg. eBook now available, print shipping in November.

You’ll Learn:

Fundamental concepts, definitions and frameworks behind privacy and data protection,
Healthy approach to user privacy into everything you build and design,
Common privacy issues and how you can make a difference,
How to lay the ground for future developers, designers, and project managers to build a better web for tomorrow,
The obligations we have to safeguard user privacy and health data.

Who Is This Book For?

Understanding Privacy is for designers, developers, and project managers who want to understand what privacy really is about and who want to integrate a healthy approach to user privacy into everything they do not only to put their users first today but also to help build a better web for tomorrow.

A double-spread of Understanding: an honest, practical and clear guide to privacy.

Table Of Contents

1. Privacy and You

In the book’s first section, “Privacy and You,” Heather reviews the fundamental concepts, definitions and frameworks behind privacy and data protection.

2. Privacy and Your Work

In the second section, “Privacy and Your Work,” Heather discusses how to integrate a healthy approach to user privacy into everything you do, whether you are a designer, a developer, or a project manager.

3. Privacy and Your Users

“Privacy and Your Users” covers issues around user privacy where you can make a difference. We’re going to learn how to consider the power dynamics of what you create, regardless of the role you play.

4. Privacy and Your Future

In “Privacy and Your Future,” Heather suggests a few critical areas that make the web a better place and lay the ground for future developers, designers, and project managers to build a better web for tomorrow’s users.

Postscript: Privacy and Health Data

In the final section, “Privacy and Health Data,” Heather addresses an even more pressing recent issue: the obligations we have to safeguard user privacy and health data, and how to do it as best we can.

288 pages. eBook now available, print shipping in November. Written by Heather Burns. Cover design by Espen Brunborg.

About the Author

Heather Burns (@WebDevLaw) is a tech policy professional and an advocate for an open Internet which upholds the human rights to privacy, accessibility, and freedom of expression. She’s been passionate about privacy since she built her first web site in 1996, and has educated thousands of professionals worldwide on the fundamentals of a healthy approach to protecting people and their data. She lives in Glasgow, Scotland.

The book comes with practical guidelines and checklists to keep in mind when designing and building with privacy in mind.

Reviews and Testimonials
“Heather’s broad knowledge, experience, and ability to articulate these complex matters is nothing short of astounding. I’ve learned an amazing amount from her. She always informs and entertains, and she does so from the heart.”

Mike Little, Co-Founder of WordPress

“No more excuses for overlooking privacy: Heather’s guide is an essential toolbox for user-centric product developers and for anyone interested in building a better web. Expect the full sweep, from historical context and core concepts in US and EU privacy practice, to practical tips and advice — dispensed in highly readable style.”

Natasha Lomas, Senior Reporter, Techcrunch.com

“Privacy is an oft-talked about and rarely understood part of our modern digital lives. Heather has been on the forefront for the battle of our privacy for decades. In this book she makes the case for why privacy is one of the foundational pillars on which our society rests, and why eroding our privacy means eroding a cornerstone of our lives, our communities, and our democracy. A must-read for anyone working on or with the web.”

Morten Rand-Hendriksen, Senior Staff Instructor, LinkedIn Learning

“Privacy can seem complicated but it doesn’t need to be. Heather covers all that you need to know with astonishing clarity. This book gives you all you need to understand and handle privacy work, and makes for great teaching material that experts could rely on.”

Robin Berjon, former Head of Data Governance at The New York Times

Technical Details

ISBN: 978-3-945749-64-7 (print)
Quality hardcover, stitched binding, ribbon page marker.
Free worldwide shipping from Germany, starting in November 2022.
eBook is already available as PDF, ePUB, and Amazon Kindle.
Get the book (Print Hardcover + eBook)

Community Matters ❤️

Producing a book takes quite a bit of time, and we couldn’t pull it off without the support of our wonderful community. A huge shout-out to Smashing Members for the kind, ongoing support. The eBook is and always will be free for Smashing Members. Plus, Members get a friendly discount when purchasing their printed copy. Just sayin’! 😉

More Smashing Books & Goodies

Promoting best practices and providing you with practical tips to master your daily coding and design challenges has always been (and will be) at the core of everything we do at Smashing.

In the past few years, we were very lucky to have worked together with some talented, caring people from the web community to publish their wealth of experience as printed books that stand the test of time. Steven and Stefan are two of these people. Have you checked out their books already?

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​ Meet Understanding Privacy, our brand new Smashing Book to make sense of privacy, and learn how to create inclusive, safe and privacy-aware digital experiences. eBook now available, print shipping in November. 

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