Concepts for apps in a decentralised web

Hello folks,

my name is Sergej Spomer and I’m an UX Designer from Berlin.
I based my Thesis on Solid and what Ruben Verborgh proposed in his article “paradigm shifts for a decentralised web”. I tried to see how decentralised apps that would be build on Solid work and more importantly, what the new possibilities of data-ownership and the split of data and applications would mean for the interaction between people and apps. How people would manage their own data and how they would decide who could access what data from where.

As I’m a developer myself I challenged myself to only propose interaction patterns that would be, as much as possible, technically feasible with the current technology. I tried to come up one possible way how we could design decentralised apps to allow users to have control over their data without the requiring technical knowledge to use it. I also came up with a couple ideas and concepts for shared data structures that would allow users as well as applications to recognise data sets more easily.

I’d love your opinions my thesis and hope that maybe they can help someone. What do you think about the ideas proposed here? Is there something that I completely forgot?

The whole thesis might be a bit lengthy because I also talk about the problems it tries to solve and the technological background. As you probably know this already you can just skip those parts :wink:

You can download the thesis here: https://ln.sync.com/dl/619f85ef0/xgaf5te9-ta9iadci-jvfn7eaj-cqunvya8

I also created basic prototype to demonstrate those principles. if you like, you can have a look at here:

https://www.sketch.com/s/0c2f4020-a8aa-412b-a778-3dfa042f7b85/a/W2GG4w/play

If you have any questions let me know and I’ll try to answer them to best of my abilities.

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Hi Sergej,

sounds awesome, will put it on my reading list. Perhaps you want to talk about your thesis on the next Solid Berlin Meetup? There is also a gitter channel for the germany based solid community, you might want to join.

PS: you sketches look great, Solid is in big need of nicely designed, intuitive User Interfaces. Every contribution highly appreciated.

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Hi @sergejspomer, looking through this now I can see it is going to be interesting - particularly for me the testing of ideas and user interfaces with people who you’ve tried to characterise in terms of their understanding, attitudes and so on.

I know that this will be of interest in the SAFE Network community who are doing parallel work in this area, particularly with Jim Collinson the user experience manager at Maidsafe.

I’ll be happy to post this on the SAFE forum, but wonder if you would like to do this yourself - create a topic and I’m sure you will get interesting feedback if that’s of interest. So I will wait to hear from you! (and read a bit :smile:).

Thank you! As soon as this whole current situation is over i’d love to talk about it at the next meetup or will it be a virtual one?

Thank you very much. I just posted it on the SAFE Forum as well! Let me know what you think when you have read it.

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Nothing planned as far as I know. Perhaps @JollyOrc as organizer can say something about it

I’ve been quite busy with other stuff these days, and must admit that I haven’t really spent much thought on how to organize the next meetup.

Virtual sure sounds reasonable, and I’m basically game. PM me if you’re interested, and I’ll see that I can set things in motion

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Thank you for your work @sergejspomer and congrats for it! I will put it on my reading list!

In a first & quick view, really fascinated about your different domains studio!

Great to check that you included e-commerce :shopping: ! That’s exactly the scenario where the company I work for it’ s working around Solid!

In this light, it might be of your interest & study to check our founder’s vision which matches exactly this case.

Hi @sergejspomer,

Really great stuff!

Just thinking… It would be great if it were somehow possible to make something like symbolic links between pod types and containers and data types, and between pod types themselves. So that different containers or data types could be interacted with as if they were on different kinds of pods. In an adaptable way, because someone may start out thinking of one kind of pod or container structure but may end up with something different and more suitable as they go along.

My idea for different pot types is that they bascially are presets for users. It gives them a starting point for what kind of types of data they want to handle in that pod. It just preconfigures some parts of it but the structure of the pod should not change. In my case the pod types nasically only set up a basic container or “folder” structure for the user, so that they can just store data there without thinking about how they want to structure their data. And of course they can store different data types later on.
Maybe analogous to something like if dropbox would give you some options for “box types” and creates a couple different folders for you to store music, photos and docs. If that makes sense. I hope I understood your comment correctly.

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Hi @sergejspomer,

What you have done is great, and it inspires me to dream a little. Hopefully you can forgive me if these ideas are a little impractical or too ambitious.

You say that the structure of the pod should not change, but my point was that the structure of the pod should be flexible enough to change in order to adapt. Without the pod owner having to start over.

For example, say a pod owner chooses a work pod. But somewhere inside that work pod an office event like a party is entered and that requires data structures and directories like a personal pod. So that part of the pod should change, should adapt.

It could be that there is one personal event after another on the work pod and the work pod comes to look more like a personal pod. This example makes more sense if you consider that there could be many kinds or parts of pods: work pod, personal pod, health pod, financial pod, family pod, etc.

How this could actually be done, I don’t know :slight_smile: … I was thinking of something kind of like symbolic links, so that you could ‘move’ or ‘link to’ a part of the pod from one ‘kind’ of pod to another. That is kind of an oversimplification, I know.

@tag42git I think we’re meaning the same thing but I’m just not articulating myself clearly.

What I mean is that from a technical standpoint it doesn’t matter whether you created a “social pod” or “work pod” it just your pod and you can store whatever you like in there. The only difference is that pod presets create some container structure and maybe some default settings for you, but of course you could still change them.
So there really is no difference between pod types just that they are different pre-configurations of the same thing. Every pod should be able to handle all kinds of data.

But it’s interesting that I didn’t describe it clearly enough. Maybe they should be called just presets or instead of pod types to not suggest that they are different things.

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Thank you @sergejspomer. Your work is really impressive!

As @happybeing recommended I posted this also on the SAFE Forum. There a lot of interesting ideas posted that might be of interest to some of you. Have a look at it here: https://safenetforum.org/t/concepts-for-apps-in-a-decentralised-web/31677/16

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Great link and really interesting.

In SAFE they refer to ‘labels’ that apps, and I think data, have: https://safenetforum.org/t/concepts-for-apps-in-a-decentralised-web/31677/15. I wonder how this relates to what the data interoperability panel is doing with ShapeTrees, and also how this relates to app authorization in Solid.

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