Experiential privacy: Reimagining the consent experience through user-centric design thinking

We are at an incredibly exciting inflection point for the future of privacy. Now, more than ever, companies have a unique opportunity to reimagine how they collect, use, and share data as part of their digital transformations.

At Adobe, we believe that privacy can be a positive part of the customer experience. User-centric, privacy-forward experiences enable consumer value, build trust and are at the heart of experiential privacy.

Designing for experiential privacy

Designing experiences with privacy in mind is a worthwhile investment as global privacy laws, technology, and consumer expectations evolve. Research shows that more than 84 percent of people care about their privacy, and 80 percent of them are willing to take steps to protect it.

Among the many exciting aspects of my team’s work is collaborating with internal business partners from different parts of the company to design our products and services using an experiential privacy approach. We recently had the opportunity to use design principles to innovate around what a reimagined consent experience could look like for European consumers.

We decided that the best way to tackle this challenge was through a “privacy design jam” – a riff on a collaborative approach that our design teams use to ideate, validate, and prototype business challenges in an engaging and interactive way. Working with teams across our experience design, engineering, business, and legal divisions, we leveraged each group’s expertise and point of view to address business goals, privacy principles, and technical requirements – with the goal of creating an on-brand cookie consent experience that our audiences would find meaningful and valuable.

Experiential privacy lessons learned

Through this collaborative effort, our teams came to several important conclusions that have driven our work on this specific challenge, as well as how we approach experiential privacy more generally:

• Bringing the key teams together is critical. Convening a “design jam” to align stakeholders allowed us to develop a common language and understanding of requirements and objectives.

• Focus on the user. Understanding user expectations, the customer journey, the media (e.g., web, mobile), as well as considering factors such as cultural attitudes towards privacy will help unlock an on-brand user-centric experience.

• Evolving conditions require agility and flexibility. Developing an agile and flexible solution that can respond and evolve quickly to changes in legal, business, and the technical landscapes, as well as consumer expectations is key.

• A layered approach to providing complex and detailed information can enable more effective communication. Measures like progressive disclosures and granular user-friendly choices can help serve the dual goals of addressing legal requirements and providing consumers with the ability to choose how deep they want to go.

• User input, analytics and reporting help measure performance and validate future improvements. Analytics and reporting allow us to continually assess how the experience is working in practice, and continually optimize the experience for users and the business.

It’s a journey, not a destination

The result of our collaboration is the first iteration in the process. We’re excited about what we created, and also acknowledge that we are on a journey. We continue to evaluate and adapt as new regulatory guidance emerges and as our customers’ expectations and technology continues to evolve.