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Does my participant have to enter their name and email address?
Does my participant have to enter their name and email address?

Some tips for researchers on how to make your participants anonymous with Lookback.

Russ Troester avatar
Written by Russ Troester
Updated over a week ago

User anonymity on the web is something all companies have to relate to, and GDPR will most certainly keep changing and evolving. As a researcher you may want to give your participant a way to remain anonymous when using Lookback. This article will help you.

What participant data do we collect?

  • Name, meaning the name the participant submits when joining a session. It's possible to enter only the first name, an alias or a made up name, if so desired, to maintain anonymity. The name entered will be visible as a part of the name of sessions with that participant, and listed in the Participants section on the left side navigation on the Lookback dashboard.

  • Email, meaning the email address the participant submits when joining a session. The email doesn't have to be real, only respect the format xx@xx.xx. The e-mail entered will be accessible via the Participants tab on your left side navigation on the Lookback dashboard.

  • IP address

Why we collect these items:

  • to have something to associate the session name with, i.e. LiveShare with XXX, SelfTest with XXX – which help researchers separate/organize recordings (name/email)

  • to facilitate for the researcher to easily contact the participants if a session didn't fully complete or contained errors (name/email)

  • to facilitate the process of debugging errors and/or improving our service (ip address)

Where is the participant data (PII) stored?

All the individual participant data collected in Lookback sessions are stored in the EU (currently in Ireland) and nowhere else. The same goes for the test setup, the recording itself, including any notes made in them, as well as the metadata.

Tips to help keep participants anonymous in sessions

  • If you test with prototypes instead of real websites, you can limit what PII can be inserted into certain fields.

  • Avoid password fields and credit card fields.

  • Avoid asking questions or writing instructions to participants that may make them reveal any PII in the session itself.

  • If participants skip surname or only enter their first name, alternatively use an alias or a made-up name instead and if real email isn't required in session data, do the same with email (just needs to respect the email format xxx@xx.xx).

  • The participant emails are never validated or reused.

How to delete a participant from Lookback after a session (i.e. how to remove the name/email address from a session afterwards)

If the real name and/or email was entered unintentionally, or you realize afterwards you want to anonymize the participant, here's how:

  1. Click "Participants" on the left side navigation the Project/Round view, and click the participant in question OR click the session the participant participated in, click the i icon, top right. So either:


  2. Click Edit participant details or View participant details (depending on which screen you're on)

  3. Click Delete..., and then Delete participant forever to confirm you will delete this participant from your dashboard permanently (unrestorable).

This will not delete any sessions themselves, only the participant data associated with them (name and email)

This will also not delete the name in the session name, so that has to be done separately (click the "pencil icon" ✏️, next to the session name (e.g. SelfTest with Russ) and change it to something generic, e.g. "SelfTest with Participant 16")

After you've deleted the Participant, if you click into the session in question and then the Session info, you'll only see the information about he session itself, but you'll no longer see the option to View Participant Details

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