Easier Readability Touted for Privacy Notices
Privacy notices should be written in plain English, simple for consumers to understand, and in a font and type point size that matches their surrounding text.
That's the conclusion of numerous governmental agencies, non-profit organizations and businesses that met in Washington, D.C., last week at the behest of the Federal Trade Commission. Panelists discussed ways in which enterprises can improve the readability and accessibility of their privacy policies and notices published both online and offline.
The workshop, entitled "Get Noticed: Effective Financial Privacy Notices," was designed to help companies better comply with the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act of 1999 (GLB), which requires that financial institutions issue privacy notices to their customers and provide them with the opportunity to opt-out of marketing campaigns.
The workshop's panelists offered numerous case studies of well-written and -designed GLB privacy notifications. In general, those that were written in plain English, not legalese, and were included in well-designed and colorful brochures were deemed by the workshop's panelists as the most successful customer communications vehicles.
While the panelists said such strategies were effective for GLB compliance, they noted that the readability issues also were pertinent to all businesses and non-profit groups that draft privacy policies and notices.
At the workshop, The Direct Marketing Association (DMA) unveiled its new policy generator to help financial services marketers better design their GLB notices. "The added bonus of easier readability will help us all,"said Patricia Faley, The DMA's vice president of ethics and consumer affairs. The generator is free to DMA members, and is available from its Web site: www.the-dma.org.