TL;DR Get users consent, don’t confuse them with your copy and be strict about access to data
“People have entrusted us with their most personal information, we owe them nothing less than the best protections that we can possibly provide by harnessing the technology at our disposal. We must get this right. History has shown us that sacrificing our right to privacy can have dire consequences.” Tim Cook, CEO Apple
In a time when data breaches are frequent and privacy is more valuable than ever, collecting user data needs to be done sensitively in order to create trust.
Make sure to obtain proper consent from users, allowing them to be fully aware of where they stand in terms of data collection. Don’t confuse them and present all sorts of strange options, give them clear options to choose from. Always assume they are out and offer them the chance to opt-in this way there can be no accidental data collection. This is an active method meaning collection only happens by their choosing.
Consider all of your copy when communicating with users about what is going to be collected. This aspect relates closely with obtaining consent, make sure the copy clarifies not confuses. Tell users what is going to be collected and how it will be used. Radical transparency is valued with users these days and by being upfront and honest in your copy it builds trust with users, empowering them to make the choices they want whilst feeling in control.
Control and monitor carefully who has access to the data once it has been collected. By keeping it secure, this will help give reassurance to users that their data is not being sold or used in any way against what they agreed to. Building a reputation for not mistreating user data can become valuable in the long run with customer satisfaction and retention.
Whilst these ideas may seem simple and basic, many companies are not acting with these best intentions in mind. They are using data to pull in extra profit. This has come to light more significantly in the past few years with companies such as Cambridge Analytica and Equifax hitting the headlines, making users more aware of their need for privacy.
When collecting user data, consider each of these areas to ensure collection is done in an ethical manner. Be truly transparent company with your users, allowing them to feel a positive about contributing to something bigger.