Published June 1, 2021 | Version Author Manuscript
Conference paper Open

Transparency Paths - Documenting the Diversity of User Perceptions

  • 1. University of Trento, Italy
  • 2. Open University of Cyprus and CYENS Centre of Excellence, Cyprus
  • 3. Web Information System and Department of Software Technology, TU Delft, Netherlands


We are living in an era of global digital platforms, eco-systems of algorithmic processes that serve users worldwide. However, the increasing exposure to diversity online – of information and users – has led to important considerations of bias. A given platform, such as the Google search engine, may demonstrate behaviors that deviate from what users expect, or what they consider fair, relative to their own context and experiences. In this exploratory work, we put forward the notion of transparency paths, a process by which we document our position, choices, and perceptions when developing and/or using algorithmic platforms. We conducted a self-reflection exercise with seven researchers, who collected and analyzed two sets of images; one depicting an everyday activity, “washing hands,” and a second depicting the concept of “home.” Participants had to document their process and choices, and in the end, compare their work to others. Finally, participants were asked to reflect on the definitions of bias and diversity. The exercise revealed the range of perspectives and approaches taken, underscoring the need for future work that will refine the transparency paths methodology.


This work has been partly supported by the project that has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 739578 (RISE – Call: H2020-WIDESPREAD-01-2016-2017-TeamingPhase2) and the Republic of Cyprus through the Deputy Ministry of Research, Innovation and Digital Policy.



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RISE – Research Center on Interactive Media, Smart System and Emerging Technologies 739578
European Commission