Consortium of Global Companies Announce Consumer Research in Effort to Strengthen Mobile Privacy by Design

May 30, 2012, 12:15 ET from Create with Context

Consortium of Global Companies Announce Consumer Research in Effort to Strengthen Mobile Privacy by Design

Insights Being Unveiled Today at Federal Trade Commission Workshop

WASHINGTON, May 30, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- As mobile technology evolves, solid privacy design is critical to ensure user understanding and build consumer trust. Today, Create with Context, an independent research and design firm, is releasing results of a wide-ranging study on users' comprehension and expectations of mobile privacy.

This research is the result of an initiative called "Design for Trust," which is funded in part by AOL, the Future of Privacy Forum, Yahoo!, Verizon and Visa Inc. The initiative aims to develop suggested design guidelines, best practices, and new innovative designs for trust and privacy in the digital world. The research findings are being unveiled today at a Federal Trade Commission workshop on Advertising and Privacy Disclosures in Online and Mobile Media. (

After conducting one-on-one observations with users and implementing technology tests such as eye tracking, Create with Context co-founder and CEO Ilana Westerman discovered key information about consumers and privacy:

  • Trust is most eroded when consumers feel companies are collecting data that doesn't make sense for the product or service they provide. Conversely, consumer trust is enhanced when companies collect data that makes sense for the product or service they offer. Good privacy design helps ensure understanding, which grows consumer trust.
  • Consumers want transparency and have more trust in companies that give it to them. They want to know what is happening, but will not take the time to go to privacy policies to read about it. It has to be clear from just using the service.
  • Action-oriented tools make users feel like they are in control of their privacy. Tools like radio buttons that attract the eye make users feel like they are taking control of their privacy, leading to increased trust.
  • The less text consumers have to read in order to understand privacy practices, the more likely consumers are to understand what happens with data. This is particularly true for users of mobile devices.
  • Privacy is not just about compliance, it is about trust in a brand. As more data is being collected and utilized to bring personalized experiences, brand managers and marketers who design for trust will have healthier brands and reputations.

Based on the research findings, initial design concepts including a trust icon have been developed and are in testing. The design goal is to create greater transparency and control for consumers.

"To innovate we must first understand the context of use," said Westerman. "What do consumers really care about, what do they know, what do they notice, how do they interact? Based on the context, we have identified foundational design guidelines and best practices that are concrete and actionable. Initial design concepts based on these guidelines tested positively, and by incorporating consumers into the iterative design process we can create trusted experiences."

Jules Polonetsky, director and co-chair of the Future of Privacy Forum, says, "Companies that wish to use mobile data responsibly will need to understand the usability challenges posed by the mobile ecosystem. By bringing a top design expert into the process, we hope to provide guidance for user design that will advance consumer trust."

"Yahoo! strongly supports the philosophy of 'privacy by design,' or intentionally considering privacy throughout the product lifecycle. This requires high level attention to ensure a consistent, quality approach that enhances a safe and trustworthy digital experience for our hundreds of millions of users," echoes Leslie Dunlap, Yahoo!'s vice president of Privacy, Policy & Trust.

"Privacy by design is critical to our philosophy of responsible innovation," said Russell Schrader, Chief Privacy Officer, Visa Inc. "This research will help industry develop useful and creative ways to offer value and privacy choices in the mobile environment."

To learn more about the initiative and its principles, please visit

SOURCE Create with Context