What is privacy UX?

UserTesting privacy ux

Privacy UX, or privacy user experience, takes best practices from the field of user experience and applies them to data collection and privacy policy interactions. An example would be optimizing your website's opt-in process or consent experience. 

As data and privacy laws like CCPA, GDPR, and LGPD mandate specific actions, privacy UX seeks to provide value and earn users' trust without creating barriers to engagement. In addition, privacy laws aim to give users more transparency and power about how their data is used. For real-world application of privacy laws, check out some GDPR consent examples from across various industries.

The downside to privacy UX

An essential function of privacy UX is to balance business goals with regulatory compliance. For example, the business might want to increase email newsletter sign-ups. Still, design features that nudge people toward more privacy-invasive options are not in the spirit of privacy laws. These are known as deceptive patterns and can lead to a poor user experience and loss of trust. 

Getting privacy UX right requires a cross-functional commitment with design, research, legal, and marketing teams to prioritize the user experience over anything else. 

While some industries are more risk-averse to violations, that doesn’t mean your website’s cookie banner has to be boring. A common trap that organizations fall into when complying with privacy laws is that they do exactly what everyone else is doing or they outsource their compliance to a vendor so they don’t have to deal with it. 

The benefit of privacy UX

Organizations that value user experience and design should see the opportunity that privacy permission journeys can provide. Improving the user experience of your organization’s privacy compliance can help you gain consumer trust and improve data integrity. Getting privacy UX right means humanizing your organization and delighting customers by offering an entertaining or innovative experience among a sea of bad experiences.

User feedback allows you to see how customers interact with your permission experience. Qualitative testing lets you empathize with users as you navigate the changing privacy standards together. Leverage moderated or unmoderated tests to make iterative changes that improve flows, journeys, and the overall experience.

Here are some basic privacy UX tips to follow: 

  • Provide information in a layered approach so as not to overwhelm the user
  • Be transparent on what data you’re collecting, exactly how you’ll use it, and what happens to it over time
  • Leverage toggle options to allow users to choose the information they want to share
  • Allow for changing or opting out of consent agreements with minimal effort

Like anything with digital, you’ll want to test your compliance and permission journey continuously to ensure the success of your customer experience

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