Fear and Loathing in UX Writing: When Users Read Privacy Policies
It’s a fact that when creating a cool UX, everything is necessary: from the background shade to the style of the text in the tooltip. And it’s just as important to tell users transparently and clearly what happens to their data on the site. Let’s find out together what you can do about it.
Your Privacy Matters
- The text is written so you will get a headache reading it
At the same time, study participants wanted a simple human language that could help them:
- Understand what behavior on the site is unacceptable and why
- Learn their personal data is collected and why it is needed
- Answer the question: Who has access to this data?
You probably can’t turn off the legal jargon completely, but you can add a short disclaimer before each section of what will be discussed below, written as simply and plainly as possible. If possible, add a specific example of how this or that Privacy aspect affects your users.
- Lack of formatting
Often, the Privacy section highlights small text or huge paragraphs with no whitespace or in ALL CAPS. Seeing this approach to formulating text about their rights, study participants felt a certain unease, as if the company was again hiding something important behind a sheet of unformatted text.
- Use at least a 14pt font
- Highlight important phrases and headings
- Make sure the text is readable on all devices
And the excessive use of caps lock looks like YOU ARE YELLING AT YOUR USER.
- Lack of functional navigation
Even better would be to place the ability to navigate between them, for example, on the left as a left-side menu, so that the navigation is always at your fingertips.
Explore your audience. Who are these people? What is their social status, age, gender, location, etc.? To answer these and other questions, talk to them. The most obvious way is through questionnaires, interviews, and other methods of audience analysis.
In small projects with relatively low budgets, you might start to think that UX interviews exist only in theory, but no. There are many teams that have a specialist who only does audience research. When you watch one of the interviews, you almost cry. Here it is, the canonical design process. There he is, your user. The American medical student is young, energetic, and focused on the education process. His goal is not just to get a diploma, but to become a professional, so he is looking for quality support materials, one of which was the application.
Now let’s compare appealing to an abstract someone or specifically him—the difference is obvious.
Look for your balance. There are four main aspects to the tone of voice:
- Funny/serious: do you want to make jokes with the user, or are you a business dude who doesn’t care for jokes?
- Formal/non-formal: are the user and you bros, or do you keep a distance, normalized by the etiquette?
- Always shows respect/brings condescending: Is it three-tiered respect for the shifter you’re talking about, or are you embarrassed to be condescending?
- Passionate and emotional/voices only facts: do you allow yourself to be passionate about the subject of the conversation, or do you dryly describe its essence?
You can choose an extreme manifestation of each aspect or adjust their proportions to ourselves.
They say good UX writing even cleans the karma of IT people. Let’s check it out! 🙂