You thought you were escaping the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) news stories. And you are…sort of.
Here are some tips to follow now that you’ve crossed your Ts and dotted your…lowercase Js (“Waynes World 2” reference, anyone?).
Stop hiding important stuff
Tsk, tsk. We’ve all seen companies with email marketing and nearly-impossible-to-see “unsubscribe” links in the footer. The font size feels like it’s zero. The link color is suspiciously close to the background of the footer.
In the era of GDPR, many companies are making this information easier to access. A recent email I received (image below) included a “Delete My Data” option in their email footer, which was still pretty tiny to find, but at least easy to read and in plain sight.
So how can you stop hiding the important stuff? Look for all your privacy or data-related information in your website, apps, email footers — anything you use to attract visitors and conversions. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, your user can’t either. And ask a friend! Get the opinion of a family member of pal who can be honest about how difficult (or easy) it is to find “Unsubscribe,” or “Delete My Data” where it matters most.
Make it easy (like, crystal clear) to find
Sometimes legal jargon gets caught in our footer like a fish in a net. It’s garbled between the copyright, address, “all rights reserved” and other meaningless information to most visitors.
But privacy and security to your visitors isn’t meaningless, and GDPR and surely other future regulations will make sure of that.
Be transparent with your language and options
Sure, you should be clear about “Unsubscribe from our communications” links in your footer, but this is about the actual words on the page.
But this also means not hiding options from your users, either. Take for example Steve Inskeep, one of the morning voices of NPR. Facebook’s decided to be transparent (kind of) about their data policies, but didn’t give him an option to opt-out or not accept their jargon.
Bad practice, Facebook. Now go to your corner and think about what you’ve done.
I’ve been a big fan of the “cookies” warning that used to bless any EU, but especially UK, websites. Now, U.S. companies are picking up a queue to share their cookie tracking to users. Good move, companies!
I’m a big fan of the Beatles and visit their website often. I personally love their fairly unobstructive cookie warning with a “read more” option written in plain language for any visitor to understand:
Plain language privacy policies
Nothing is more important than being clear and user-friendly when it comes to telling your site visitors how you’ll use their data, whether it’s through a customer log-in, or through message boards.
Not to plug my favorite band again, but Paul McCartney’s website does a fine job of using user-focused language and easy-to-follow formatting to explain how fans and visitors can expect their data and privacy to be protected:
In the world of big data breaches and the growing weariness of users to share their information, especially with profit-focused companies, your organization has a responsibility to keep data secure and meet the needs of your users or audience, whether they want to buy a product or disconnect their email from your database.