New Study Says The Industry Needs to Make Opt-out Less Scary

Just in time for Halloween, a new study from Carnegie Mellon indicates that the industry needs to make its opt-out tools less scary for consumers.

The Carnegie Mellon researchers put opt-out usability under a microscope and found there’s still a lot to be desired. The study looked at nine different tools within three broad categories:

  • Cross-network/cross-platform opt-out tools
  • Browser tools
  • Ad and tracking blockers

Among the findings, the study indicates that:

  • Users have a difficult time distinguishing between third-party trackers
  • Opt out interfaces do not have appropriate defaults
  • Insufficient communication about tool purpose and methodology is a pervasive issue
  • Many opt out tools do not provide effective feedback for users during and after the opt out process
  • Protection from broken web sites is either not available or not clear
  • Interfaces for out-out tools are generally confusing

This type of usability testing is an excellent reference point for anyone designing or working with opt out tools. You can skim the abstract or read the whole study.

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