Evaluating the Usability of Privacy Choice Mechanisms


Hana Habib and Lorrie Faith Cranor, Carnegie Mellon University


Privacy choice interfaces commonly take the form of cookie consent banners, advertising choices, sharing settings, and prompts to enable location and other system services. However, a growing body of research has repeatedly demonstrated that existing consent and privacy choice mechanisms are difficult for people to use. Our work synthesizes the approaches used in prior usability evaluations of privacy choice interactions and contributes a framework for conducting future evaluations. We first identify a comprehensive definition of usability for the privacy-choice context consisting of seven aspects: user needs, ability & effort, awareness, comprehension, sentiment, decision reversal, and nudging patterns. We then classify research methods and study designs for performing privacy choice usability evaluations. Next, we draw on classic approaches to usability testing and prior work in this space to identify a framework that can be applied to evaluations of different types of privacy choice interactions. Usability evaluations applying this framework can yield design recommendations that would improve the usability of these choice mechanisms, ameliorating some of the considerable user burden involved in privacy management.

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@inproceedings {281228,
author = {Hana Habib and Lorrie Faith Cranor},
title = {Evaluating the Usability of Privacy Choice Mechanisms},
booktitle = {Eighteenth Symposium on Usable Privacy and Security (SOUPS 2022)},
year = {2022},
isbn = {978-1-939133-30-4},
address = {Boston, MA},
pages = {273--289},
url = {https://www.usenix.org/conference/soups2022/presentation/habib},
publisher = {USENIX Association},
month = aug

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