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I would be happy to hear your opinion on following topic:

I am working on an IOT gardening system. Many of our features need the address of the user to work, because of weather data.

At the moment we are not directly asking the user to enter his location, so we need to ask for every feature if he now wants to set the address.

I want to make this part of "setting up the system", telling that it is needed so his system can react to his real life situation.

In the company many people are strongly against it, fearing that people will be mad if we force them to enter an address (if they really do not want to tell us, they still could say, they are living on the north pole).

I think its quite common and logical for such a system to ask for your location during onboarding. Actually most competitors force the user to enter one.

And you are giving away your address every time you buy something online...

What do you think is there a reason to say "No, never do that!"?

Thank you for your thoughts.

  • Do you need the user's actual address or can they provide their town or county or region? – Ken Mohnkern Jul 23 '19 at 20:07
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    Thanks to everyone, I agree it makes not that much sense for data to ask for a hyper concrete address. We found out that not many people seem to not trust the weather data. Could a "vague" address strengthen that mistrust? (Yes what competitors do is a bad argument...) – Becky Jul 24 '19 at 5:28
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I think asking for address is too specific, the fact that competitors do it does not mean you should as well. The user doesn’t know is industry standard, they only care about their privacy.

That being said, you don’t need to ask for an address to personalize weather data since weather changes by regions and not addresses. You can ask for a less specific data, such as zipcode. Zipcodes define small enough map area to personalize weather. They are also vague enough. Another alternative can be neiborhood, town, etc. Anything representing a small land area could work.

If you have more doubts about users providing any sort of location information, you can clearly explain in the form what this information is used for and how it will benefit them. For example: “we use this to determine your weather and personalized plant recommendations”.

  • Even the first 3 digits of the zip code may be enough; at least in the 1970s, it was accurate enough (except for Nevada back then; Reno and Las Vegas shared the same 3 digits) to use for generating one way trailer rental prices. – Mark Stewart Jul 27 '19 at 1:24
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Maybe at the onboarding stage (if the technical limitations allow it) say, "hey we think you're in Paris, we will show you X for this area. If this is wrong update X"

Making the user optionally correct an assumption could yield better results for you.

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Requesting the location of an IOT device during setup is not unreasonable. However the way you ask is important.

The key phrase is request, trying to force the user to provide a location (or any private information) can be a point of friction (especially when the user does not quite grasp why you need that information) and stokes distrust.

Even if adding an address provides many benefits, there will still be users who do not need the features that require location, or simply do not want to give up their privacy.

Since there are features that do not require an address, allow the user to skip entering an address during setup and show the features that require location information in a disabled state, and when the user visits that feature show a banner or other message telling the user that an address is required. (It sounds like you all are already doing something similar to this).

Most users should understand that an address is required for some features (thanks to your explanation message accompanying the request during setup) and will enter the address. For those who skip, they will see all the functionality they can gain by entering an address (in context) and may choose to enter the address then.

TLDR: The user should be allowed to choose what personal information they give, and since this device does not appear to require an address for all features, then entering an address should be optional.

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