Balancing cookie compliance and user experience

December 9, 2020


Understanding cookie compliance amongst the myriad of regulations and guidance that exist globally can be a headache by itself. Couple that with the need to deploy a clear and transparent user experience and cookie compliance can quickly become a big challenge. 

Over the past year, many regulatory authorities issued guidance on the use of cookies covering a range of stipulations from cookie walls and implied consent to the use of analytic cookies and the duration of valid consent.  

While there are similarities across much of the guidance that has been issued, the compliance challenge lies within the many differences that are highlighted from one authority to the next. Further to the guidance issued by DPAs, there are also international frameworks and regulations that organizations need to be aware of, including the newly revised draft of the ePrivacy Regulation and the IAB Transparency & Consent Framework, which has recently received criticism from the Belgian DPA.   

Cookie compliance has never been so intensely under the spotlight and therefore balancing the experience of the end-user while maintaining compliances with scores of laws and frameworks could seem like an uphill battle.  

Why does cookie compliance matter? 

Despite a complex web of regulations to navigate, cookie compliance remains firmly in the focus of many data protection authorities. Notably, the Spanish AEPD recently issued enforcement actions for unlawful cookie practices, and the CNIL have adopted their final recommendations and amended guidelines on cookies and other trackers.  

The increased focus from DPAs means that there is also a growing awareness from end-users regarding the rights afforded to them under such laws as the GDPR or CCPA. Cookie compliance, therefore, becomes a key factor in maintaining customer trust as well as avoiding reputational damage or even monetary penalties.  

How can you implement good user experience in a cookie banner? 

By providing an engaging user experience can help to greatly increase opt-in rates as well as enhancing transparency around your processing activities. There are some key topics that should be considered when implementing a balanced, user-friendly cookie banner to your website; 

  • Transparency: As mentioned previously, transparency is a critical factor in the user experience and a clear user interface can be a deciding factor for opt-ins as well as helping towards compliance.  
  • Accessibility:  Your cookie policy needs to be accessible – particularly to those using screen readers or other accessibility aides – to ensure compliance with accessibility laws as well as privacy legislation.  
  • Design and User Interface:  OneTrust offers an extensive library of professionally designed templates and layouts to balance compliance requirements with your brand’s approach to user experience whether this is a minimalist approach or something more assertive.  
  • Synchronization across devices: Users are more connected than ever and now expect their preferences to be synchronized across their mobile device, personal computer, or any number of devices in the IoT.  

Further Reading on Cookie Compliance:  

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