So how are you getting on with complying with the new Cookie legislation?
As one who is now getting asked by clients as to what they should be doing about the EU Cookie Law - and indeed, one needing to update our own sites in line with legislation - then I thought I'd share a few of my findings (and views).
This video a useful Q&A from the ICO doesn't really tie up many of the loose ends. However, it does provide practical steps for website owners to take to at least show that they are considering cookies and user transparency.
To summarise, it would seem that for now organisations should at least be doing:
- A Cookie Audit - an audit of how cookies are used on the site. This is effectively the starting point - as once you're clear on how and what is used, then you can start to plan how you comply with the absolute minimum impact to usability and sales and conversion processes.
- Creating a consent mechanism seems key on the ICO agenda - however, this is much trickier. Let's be realistic, I'm having a kitchen extension at the moment (groan but it will eventually be great) - and although I am a keen online shopper, I've been online shoppingtastic over the last couple of weeks. Quite honestly, I have made more than 40 purchases of one thing or another online from probably 20 different sites. Where does a 'consent mechanism' sit? At the checkout, as you enter each site, for each item that is saved in a basket? This is where it gets tricky. And indeed, not just tricky but damned dangerous for online sales. Surely in these austere times we should be making it as simple as possible to trade online - not adding in unnecessary additional 'clicks and cautions' - that confuse users or just take up too much time or become annoying to the degree that those all important users 'switch off'.
I work with a number of online businesses and part of the intention of providing a quick, simple and excellent service - is all about making it as simple as possible for the user. Eradicating unnecessary steps - by watching and tracking behaviour and listening to customers (yes, Cookies will be used in determining these key business insights) - that enables my clients to deliver better solutions and ultimately a better service to their customers - so it's a win win scenario. Optimisation, optimisation, optimisation.
It will therefore, be interesting to see how this all plays out - and part of how it 'plays out' will be down to how the ICO intend to enforce compliance. Will they shut sites down for non compliance? What's the penalty?
I get the feeling this hasn't really been thought through. Have online retailers been consulted as part of the legislation development process? Where did this legislation arise from? As I said at the beginning - it's all still sketchy.
So, based on what we have watched and learned so far, we have updated our Cookies and Privacy page with a very transparent, honest and simple message. Until we learn more - we 'think' we've done what we need to.
Views, news and tips on how you're dealing with Cookie compliance (or not) sincerely welcomed ;)
@Michelle Carvill is owner and Marketing Director at Carvill Creative – the online visibility experts. A digital marketing and design agency based in Maidenhead, Berkshire. The agency covers all aspects of online visibility - covering social media marketing and social media training, user focused website planning and conversion focused website design.