Internet companies can boost sales and build trust with online shoppers by providing clear and readily available privacy disclosures, according to a recent UC Irvine study.
“Surveys have demonstrated that online shoppers are concerned about their privacy, specifically about the confidentiality of the personal data they provide to Web retailers,” explained Alfred Kobsa, author of the study and professor of informatics in UCI’s Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences. “To allay these concerns, many Web sites include a link to their online ‘privacy policies,’ which describe how the retailer treats the personal data of customers. Even comprehensive privacy notices that should reassure readers are, however, often written in a lengthy and legalistic manner, and in effect, hardly ever read by Internet shoppers.”
Pursuing an alternative approach, Kobsa, who is also a faculty associate of UCI’s Center for Research on Information Technology and Organizations and of the Institute for Software Research, partnered with faculty from Humboldt University in Berlin to design Web page templates grounded in human-computer interaction research. In these design templates, every entry field for customers’ personal data is accompanied by a clear and concise explanation of how the retailer will deal with the respective piece of data, and what benefits customers can expect from sharing their personal information.
Michelle Williams | EurekAlert!
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