Effective techniques for communicating a privacy policy

This summer, the government commissioned a study to produce a good practice guide for business on presenting terms and conditions and privacy notices online. By Laura Linkomies.

The Behavioural Insights Team at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy tested 18 techniques to increase engagement and understanding. The main focus was on methods that offer low-cost, practical and scalable solutions. while some of the results were to be expected, others, such as questioning the value of layered notices, were more surprising.

Effective Techniques

The authors say that using a questionand-answer format to present the key terms worked well, improving understanding by up to 36 per cent. It may be useful to display key terms as frequently asked questions. Also, the use of icons is recommended to highlight key terms. The study compared a long privacy policy with no icons to an identical policy that was illustrated with over 20 icons. “The icons did not help customers understand the policy better in this case. This result shows the importance of combining icons with short, easy to understand information,” the study concludes.

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