Title

A “Nutrition Label” for Privacy

Date of Original Version

2009

Type

Working Paper

Abstract or Table of Contents

We used an iterative design process to develop a privacy label that presents to consumers the ways organizations collect, use, and share personal information. Many surveys have shown that consumers are concerned about online privacy, yet current mechanisms to present website privacy policies have not been successful. This research addresses the present gap in the communication and understanding of privacy policies, by creating an information design that improves the visual presentation and comprehensibility of privacy policies. Drawing from nutrition, warning, and energy labeling, as well as from the effort towards creating a standardized banking privacy notification, we present our process for constructing and refining a label tuned to privacy. This paper describes our design methodology; findings from two focus groups; and accuracy, timing, and likeability results from a laboratory study with 24 participants. Our study results demonstrate that compared to existing natural language privacy policies, the proposed privacy label allows participants to find information more quickly and accurately, and provides a more enjoyable information seeking experience.