Instead, we put forward the idea of a transparency statement, as a device solely dedicated to informing visitors, principally about how their information is treated. When writing the article, we had no idea really what the transparency statement would look like, but of course the immediate challenge coming back was to produce one.
Taking that challenge up, below you can see the first images of the concept mocked up on a website. [Update: June 2, 2014: The website with Transparency Notice is now live.]
Essentially what we wanted to do was communicate data practices as clearly and succinctly as possible. This is not always easy, as clarity and brevity are not necessarily the same
First off, we changed the name to Transparency Notice—it is both shorter and a notice feels slightly softer than a statement.
The icon is an adaptation of an image we have used elsewhere—a magnifying glass with an asterisk inside. Although the magnifying glass is also connected with search in many places, it conveys the idea of looking closer at something—which seemed appropriate.
We initially thought about having the icon on its own, but decided that as a new concept it needs explanation, which is why we put the text next to the image. We expect that this could be dropped if the idea became more widely recognised and linked to this or another particular image.
Hovering over the icon brings up the notice itself. We wanted to make the text succinct in a bullet point style that conveys the message in as few words as possible, whilst trying to avoid potential for misinterpretation.
With the mini bullet icons we borrowed from the ideas of the traffic light labelling system being used in some supermarkets for food health messaging. We realise however that no-one would likely want to use red, as it was too danger oriented. The green tick is meant to denote privacy protection practices, and the orange ‘i’ is for data collection practices you might want to learn more about.
Of course this is very much a prototype and we would welcome all feedback, but I hope it demonstrates the core idea. We hope to release this live onto a website within a few days, when we can begin measuring interaction, as well as testing a few alternative tweaks. And if anyone would like to introduce something similar to their own site, we will be happy to help. We are already considering releasing a WordPress plugin and if there is enough interest we could develop a simple service to enable customisation and integration into any site.