Privacy by Design: Building a Privacy Policy People Actually Want to Read

Richard Mabey at the Artificial Lawyer: “…when it came to updating our privacy policy ahead of GDPR it was important to us from the get-go that our privacy policy was not simply a compliance exercise. Legal documents should not be written by lawyers for lawyers; they should be useful, engaging and designed for the end user. But it seemed that we weren’t the only ones to think this. When we read the regulations, it turned out the EU agreed.

Article 12 mandates that privacy notices be “concise, transparent, intelligible and easily accessible”. Legal design is not just a nice to have in the context of privacy; it’s actually a regulatory imperative. With this mandate, the team at Juro set out with a simple aim: design a privacy policy that people would actually want to read.

Here’s how we did it.

Step 1: framing the problem

When it comes to privacy notices, the requirements of GDPR are heavy and the consequences of non-compliance enormous (potentially 4% of annual turnover). We knew therefore that there would be an inherent tension between making the policy engaging and readable, and at the same time robust and legally watertight.

Lawyers know that when it comes to legal drafting, it’s much harder to be concise than wordy. Specifically, it’s much harder to be concise and preserve legal meaning than it is to be wordy. But the fact remains. Privacy notices are suffered as downside risk protections or compliance items, rather than embraced as important customer communications at key touchpoints. So how to marry the two.

We decided that the obvious route of striking out words and translating legalese was not enough. We wanted cakeism: how can we have an exceptionally robust privacy policy, preserve legal nuance and actually make it readable?

Step 2: changing the design process

The usual flow of creating a privacy policy is pretty basic: (1) management asks legal to produce privacy policy, (2) legal sends Word version of privacy policy back to management (back and forth ensues), (3) management checks Word doc and sends it on to engineering for implementation, (4) privacy policy goes live…

Rather than the standard process, we decided to start with the end user and work backwards and started a design sprint (more about this here) on our privacy notice with multiple iterations, rapid prototyping and user testing.

Similarly, this was not going to be a process just for lawyers. We put together a multi-disciplinary team co-led by me and, legal information designer Stefania Passera, with input from our legal counsel Adam, Tom (our content editor), Alice (our marketing manager) and Anton (our front-end developer).

Step 3: choosing design patterns...(More).