This UX Magazine article briefly explains that the Digital Trust Initiative did some research into the context of what causes users to adjust privacy settings in the digital space. The article gets off-topic, but the result is two useful lists for mobile designers – six principles to guide the design process, and seven best practices for designing interactions.
Six principles to guide the design process
- Context: What are users’ mental models, beliefs, expectations, and task flows around maintaining their personal information?
- Motivation: What do users care about? What triggers their actions to adjust privacy settings?
- Awareness and attention: Do users know that a privacy status indicator exists? Once they realize that it’s there, do they pay attention to it when they are using their device?
- Discoverability: If users look for a privacy status indicator, can they find it? How visible does it have to be? Can it be something other than visual?
- Comprehension and retention: Do users understand and remember how to interact with or adjust settings via the privacy status indicator? Can they repeat processes?
Usability: Can users interact with the status indicator? Is there a box that they can check for easy control.
- Timing: Tell me when I should care. Don’t interrupt me, and don’t force me to pay attention to something I’m not interested in at the moment. Ask for data when it is needed, at the moment when it makes sense intuitively and contextually.
- Organization: Why is the same action available in several places? Dispersed controls can be hard to find, and duplicative or similar-sounding controls are confusing. Provide access to all controls in one place, so that users can link them together easily. Simplify or consolidate similar controls to avoid user confusion.
- Surface: Be transparent. If users have to go hunting, then they worry that something is being hidden from them. That makes them less trusting and more wary of a site.
- Embed: Don’t make me hunt. Put the link into the text, at a natural point when I am interested in finding more information. If the site doesn’t link its brief text to the full version, then the user has to go hunting for it. This can be perceived as “trickery,” eroding trust.
- Associate: Tell me what the consequences of my actions are.
- Value proposition and consequences: Why should I do this? Give consumers a reason why personal information is needed, and the value proposition.
Informed consent: When did I say this was ok? Did the user make a choice, and did they understand what they were choosing? Give people the opportunity to understand and agree to the terms of providing their data. Be clear about what is being collected, and what can and cannot be controlled.