User Experience

Privacy UX: better cookie consent experience

UserTesting cookie consent experiences

Since GDPR and other privacy legislations were enacted, one of the most unpleasant aspects of a digital experience has become the cookie consent banner. While some are comically long, others interrupt the experience, distract from critical information, or don’t work correctly. Instead of feeling empowered with a better sense of how their data will personalize their experience, users resign their privacy via rage clicks and sighs.   

Despite being one of the first things visitors interact with on your website, organizations rarely put design or research resources behind optimizing their cookie consent bar. 

Here’s how to create a better cookie consent experience.

Better cookie consent banner design

Run usability tests to watch web visitors interact with your cookie consent banner. This will help you see what the banner looks like on different devices and browers. Look for things like is the cookie consent banner:

  • Too long
  • Blocking critical information
  • Hidden from view
  • Formatting incorrectly 
  • Conflicting with brand standards
  • Broken or bugged

After testing with 5 users, you should get a good understanding of where your cookie consent banner is falling flat. Sharing videos of website visitors struggling with your cookie consent banner with stakeholders is a great way to get budget and resources to improve it. 

Better cookie consent banner copy

While you’re running usability tests on your banner, make sure the copy is clear, concise, and easy-to-read. This means writing at a sixth grade reading level and increasing scannability. You will need to balance keeping the copy short and being transparent about how your organziation collects, stores, uses, and retires user data. 

When thinking about how to optimize your cookie consent banner, consider your industry. While some industries are highly risk adverse like healthcare and finance, others have room to get creative with how they request permissions. Instead of using a simple “OK” button for visitors to begrudgingly consent to, give them options. Allow users to toggle on and off the types of data they want to share and how. Show how sharing certain types of data allows you to improve their experience. 

Better cookie consent flow

In the spirit of privacy UX, minimizing the amount of personal data you collect is best practice. Consider how much data you need to provide the best experience to the user and stick to that. 

If you can’t get around asking for several fields of information, use accordians or progressive fields in forms. Through repeat visits, you can learn more about your visitors without duplicating data or requesting too much information. 

Additionally, watch out for competing pop ups and banners on your website. You don’t want your chatbot banner, newsletter banner, announcement banner, and product banner all flooding the screen at the same time. Your primary banner should be the cookie consent banner and then give visitors some time before presenting them with more options. Run usability tests to watch users explore your website and experience your banners in real time. You’ll quickly see what’s annoying them and what’s improving their experience. 

Lastly, make it easy for visitors to change their minds. Opting out of something on your digital experience should be straight forward and readily accessible. This helps build trust and transparency.

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