Second, we worked on language. We removed any unnecessary legalistic or technical expression and replaced them with words of our everyday vocabulary. We shortened up the text to provide only essential information. We also gave examples to explain those expressions that we could not simplify. We used a conversational style that distinguishes between “we” (the website owners) and “you” (the website visitor): We clarified what we do and what are our responsibilities concerning your personal data and your rights. These strategies allow us to inspire trust by being concrete about what we do with the data, while being friendly with our website visitors.
Lastly, we redesigned the visual layout by placing companion icons next to headings and sub-headings in order to ease navigation. Icons give readers an overview of the document and help them to quickly search and find specific pieces of information. The use of icons is consistent throughout the document, so that one pictogram always stands for a certain concept and fosters its recognition. We chose our pictograms from among the Free Icons from the Streamline Icons Pack. Please be aware that this specific selection of icons is not based on scientific research and will probably evolve in the future.
All these improvements were made on WordPress. To include a multi-layer structure into our WordPress setup, we have used the plugin ShortCodes Ultimate which allows for easy inclusion of accordions, information icons, and other ways of dynamically expanding the information shown through the page editor. The navigation menu is generated by the Easy Table of Contents plugin, which we managed to include in the sidebar after some fiddling with the .php files of the theme and a few specific additions in the page’s html and css files. (A blog post on the technical process is coming soon!)
Was it quick and easy? Not at all! It required the efforts of a 6-persons’ team with expertise ranging from data protection law to computer science, user experience and psychology having discussions over several months. The experience was illustrative for academics who usually do not need to confront directly the regulatory burden imposed by data protection law – as companies and websites operators often do.
Was it worth it? Yes, definitely! Our goal is to provide website operators with useful and re-usable resources that can be easily applied in their websites. While doing so, however, website operators must be aware of the need to adapt these resources to their specific environment and practices. Please note that the intention is not to provide legal consulting and we do not provide any warranty with respect to our texts and recommendations.
Please send us your comments over the contact form, we are eager to learn how we can do better!
The PIF Team
- Contract design pattern library by WorldCC, Stefania Passera and Helena Haapio: https://contract-design.worldcc.com/library
- Rossi, A. et al. (2019) ‘When Design Met Law: Design Patterns for Information Transparency’, Droit de la Consommation = Consumenterecht : DCCR, (122–123), pp. 79–121. Available online
- Article 29 Data Protection Working Party (2018) Guidelines on transparency under Regulation 2016/679, 17/EN WP260 rev.01. Available online