Date of Original Version



Technical Report

Abstract or Description

Earlier work has shown that consumers cannot effectively find information in privacy policies and that they do not enjoy using them. In our previous research on nutrition labeling and other similar consumer information design processes we developed a standardized table format for privacy policies. We compared this standardized format, and two short variants (one tabular, one text) with the current status quo: full text natural language policies and layered policies. We conducted an online user study of 789 participants to test if these three more intentionally designed, standardized privacy policy formats, assisted by consumer education, can benefit consumers. Our results show that providing standardized privacy policy presentations can have significant positive effects on accuracy of information finding, overall speed, and reader enjoyment with privacy policies.


CMU-CyLab-09-014 This is the January 12, 2010 update of a tech report originally published in November 2009. A shorter version of this paper has been accepted for CHI 2010. The shorter version does not include the layered-policy figure or the final table.