Toggles, Dollar Signs, and Triangles: How to (In)Effectively Convey Privacy Choices with Icons and Link Texts

CHI '21: Proceedings of the 2021 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems 63; 1-25, May 2021 https://doi.org/10.1145/3411764.3445387

Posted: 19 Aug 2022 Last revised: 17 Sep 2022

See all articles by Hana Habib

Hana Habib

Carnegie Mellon University

Yixin Zou

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor

Yaxing Yao

Carnegie Mellon University

Alessandro Acquisti

Carnegie Mellon University - H. John Heinz III School of Public Policy and Management

Lorrie Faith Cranor

Carnegie Mellon University - School of Computer Science and Carnegie Institute of Technology

Joel R. Reidenberg

Fordham University School of Law

Norman Sadeh

Carnegie Mellon University - School of Computer Science

Florian Schaub

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor - School of Information

Date Written: May 1, 2021

Abstract

Increasingly, icons are being proposed to concisely convey privacy-related information and choices to users. However, complex privacy concepts can be difficult to communicate. We investigate which icons effectively signal the presence of privacy choices. In a series of user studies, we designed and evaluated icons and accompanying textual descriptions (link texts) conveying choice, opting-out, and sale of personal information—the latter an opt-out mandated by the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA). We identified icon-link text pairings that conveyed the presence of privacy choices without creating misconceptions, with a blue stylized toggle icon paired with “Privacy Options” performing best. The two CCPA-mandated link texts (“Do Not Sell My Personal Information” and “Do Not Sell My Info”) accurately communicated the presence of do-not sell opt-outs with most icons. Our results provide insights for the design of privacy choice indicators and highlight the necessity of incorporating user testing into policy making.

Keywords: CCPA, privacy, choice, icon design

Suggested Citation

Habib, Hana and Zou, Yixin and Yao, Yaxing and Acquisti, Alessandro and Cranor, Lorrie Faith and Reidenberg, Joel R. and Sadeh, Norman and Schaub, Florian, Toggles, Dollar Signs, and Triangles: How to (In)Effectively Convey Privacy Choices with Icons and Link Texts (May 1, 2021). CHI '21: Proceedings of the 2021 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems 63; 1-25, May 2021 https://doi.org/10.1145/3411764.3445387, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4179595

Hana Habib

Carnegie Mellon University ( email )

Pittsburgh, PA 15213-3890
United States

Yixin Zou

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor ( email )

500 S. State Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
United States

Yaxing Yao

Carnegie Mellon University ( email )

Pittsburgh, PA 15213-3890
United States

Alessandro Acquisti (Contact Author)

Carnegie Mellon University - H. John Heinz III School of Public Policy and Management ( email )

Pittsburgh, PA 15213-3890
United States
412-268-9853 (Phone)
412-268-5339 (Fax)

Lorrie Faith Cranor

Carnegie Mellon University - School of Computer Science and Carnegie Institute of Technology ( email )

5000 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
United States

Joel R. Reidenberg

Fordham University School of Law ( email )

140 West 62nd Street
New York, NY 10023
United States
212-636-6843 (Phone)
212-930-8833 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://faculty.fordham.edu/reidenberg

Norman Sadeh

Carnegie Mellon University - School of Computer Science ( email )

5000 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
United States

Florian Schaub

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor - School of Information ( email )

105 S State St
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
United States

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