A new website: 12 months of digital product research

The Digital Product Research team builds things to think with. Over the last year we’ve researched a number of areas, and we’ve brought what we’ve learned from that work together in a new website: coop.uk/dpr.

Building and testing quickly

Starting from an idea about how we think the world works, or how we’d like it to work, we carry out experiments to find out if we were right, or why we were wrong. We quickly test and validate our ideas in a wide range of ways including making physical gadgets, building web apps, giving out flyers, knocking on doors, even experimenting on ourselves.

Stuff that matters

Whatever we do, we always start from one of our core beliefs:

  • people should understand and have control over the technology they use
  • technology should work for people and communities, not against them

And we’re always looking for new places where co-operation is a competitive advantage. Over the last year we’ve explored a few areas including insurance, financial freedom and community energy. And we’ve talked about some of it – we’ve blogged about some of our work on paperless billing, terms and conditions and security.

A place for our learnings to live

We’ve amassed a collection of learnings, ideas, prototypes and insights which we’ve brought together into one archive: coop.uk/dpr. Some of what we’ve learned along the way seems quite obvious (young people find it hard to visualise the long term future – who knew!).

Some are more surprising (an interest in renewable energy ≠ an interest in climate change). But we think we have some interesting stories to tell – not just about what we’ve learned, but also about how we’ve learned.

So please take a look, and let us know what you think. Specifically we’d like to know if the site is accessible – we’ve carried out some automated tests, but that’s no substitute for getting it in front of people.

And, of course, we’d like to know if you think it’s interesting.

If you’d have any questions about our work, let us know in the comments.

Sophy Colbert
Content designer

6 thoughts on “A new website: 12 months of digital product research

  1. Kurtis April 28, 2017 / 3:34 pm

    This is great. Must’ve stumbled on an early version trawling through github – looks much more polished now.

    Some really useful nuggets here, presented clearly and in an accessible/approachable way (tone and style).

    Keep it up!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Frank Nelson May 2, 2017 / 7:35 am

    Kurtis, There is no question that – in addressing the issue of easy secure transmission of sensitive information – AtBush and its end to end encryption has the potential to resolve the problem BUT would AtBush only be able to work if everybody to whom I might send an attachment has AtBush available to them?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sophy Colbert May 2, 2017 / 9:20 am

      Hi Frank, the recipient would not need to install anything or log in to an account – they’d simply click on the link to download the document. Only the sender would need to install the browser plugin. We designed Atbash to not add extra complexity to a process such as renting a flat or applying for a loan (where the sender is reliant on the recipient).


  3. Frank Nelson May 2, 2017 / 7:43 am

    Just to let you know, I do find this subject interesting and – having been a victim of identity fraud myself – appreciate what’s at stake BUT..
    As a 66 year old technophobe, I get worry
    a) how I would go about loading AtBush onto my PC, iPad and smartphone
    b) about using a tool cloaked in language and technology that I do not understand and – on the face of it – might only work if sponsored by an internet giant I struggle to trust such as Google or Microsoft!


    • Frank Nelson May 2, 2017 / 10:02 am

      It will certainly help boost the level of trust in AtBash if the Co-op – as implied in your blog – will not be looking to make any money from it.
      Of course, once AtBash gets off the ground, it will probably get ambushed by Google, Apple or Microsoft launching their own version “for free”…. but, then again, the same thing happened in the late 1990s when the major UK retailers followed the Co-op into Fairtrade making it now mainstream!
      Good luck to you in this venture!


  4. Sophy Colbert May 2, 2017 / 9:35 am

    Hi Frank,
    Thank you for your comment, and I am sorry to hear you were the victim of identity fraud. At the moment Atbash is a prototype – it’s not available for anyone to use.
    I take your point about language and technology. We could do better to explain how Atbash works in plain English.
    Your comment about trust is a good one. It’s been heartening to see throughout all our research how much people do trust the Co-op to do work like this, even though we’ve not made a browser or an email service or anything like that.

    Liked by 1 person

Comments are closed.