NORMALLY is a research and design studio. We are on an expedition to explore the material properties of data. We run a design agency. We teach. We make tools. We make prototypes to help us think. We have replaced process with protocols. We work four days a week. Our strategic thinking emerges from sensemaking. We are currently asking what is beyond user-centred design? We have developed our own range of service enabling technologies. Our salaries are calculated by an algorithm. Normally is an experiment in what it means to work.

Data Exploration #01

I just Googled my bank balance.

September 2019

We hooked a Monzo bank account up to Google so that we can use it to search inside our personal financial information.

We built a browser extension and taught it to listen out for ‘personalised’ searches. Searching for ‘balance’ brings a generic Google result, but searching for ‘My current balance’, for example, recognises this as a personal request, and displays the current balance from the Monzo account.

Google's mission statement is to "organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful." But there are worlds of information that Google does not - and as yet can not - organize. We're talking about our personal information. We've been bringing design to policy projects, exploring data mobility, asking what opportunities a truly data mobile world might surface? What if we could use Google to search inside our own personal world of information?

We’re currently exploring many more opportunities like this for a data mobile world. We’re happy to share more if you’d like to get in touch.

Data Exploration #02

Cabin Analytics

Launching 2020

We are building a privacy-first analytics tool that also enables owners to see the environmental impact of their websites. The service strips down analytics to what matters most, including measurement of the carbon footprint, and it does not rely on cookies or other user tracking technologies. There are three reasons why we felt we should make Cabin:
  1. We're pretty web-savvy, but Google Analytics is so complicated we just don't know how to get what we need from it.

  2. Many analytic services are free to those who install them – but come at a considerable privacy cost to end-users. People shouldn’t have to be followed around the web to know how well a website is performing.

  3. We think there are some critical things analytics services aren't measuring. If we measure the environmental impact of a digital service, then, perhaps, we can start to do something about it.

Find out more: withcabin.com

Data Exploration #03

The carbon cost of data

March 2019

We're on a long term expedition to understand the social and environmental consequences of data-driven services, speculating on what we might be able to do about it.

In the demo shown here, we illustrate an idea about how services like Instagram might make design decisions that dramatically reduce the energy use and carbon cost of their service. What if services like Instagram had a daily carbon footprint allowance? Could we use image/facial recognition to describe photos (including people's names or locations) and then allow users to reveal the content they're actually interested in?

In the process of crafting these speculations, we also discovered that what might be better for the environment might also be better for our mental health.