Cookie policy messaging - before and after, by Nestle

We nearly passed out when we saw the original cookie messaging on Nestle’s UK site:

Where to start? Taking over the whole browser and firing this much information at the user completely disorientates them. Those big cross and tick icons? That’s where you click. There’s no other way to proceed. Despite the negative call-to-action, the ‘No’ column actually seems to be the one Nestle want you to go for, with five pros listed underneath, with the random ‘Yes’ what is it that “This website will not…” - we may never know.

Thankfully, someone seems to have had a quiet word, and they’ve now replaced it with a much more friendly banner at the top of the page:

This time the message explains what a cookie is, yet doesn’t interfere with the experience. It’s still not perfect though - the link accessibility is terrible, being dark grey and white on rollover without any underline, and a dismiss button would be nice.

Cookie Policy Messaging Examples

In this article from the Guardian about the new EU cookie regulations, which are about to take force in the UK, the examples leave a lot to be desired in terms of user experience.

Before we start, it’s worth pointing out that according to the UK Information Commissioner’s Office guidelines, if cookies are used as an essential part of the service being provided, no notification or consent is required.

Cookie policy exceptions from the guidelines document (see link below)

Here’s a link to the guidelines document - Guidance on the rules on use of cookies and similar technologies (opens a PDF).

The first example the Guardian cites is Delia Smith’s recipe and cooking community, Delia Online. Let’s take a more detailed look at the message:

Delia Online cookie statement

There is no real information here about what a cookie is, or how they use them - whether they are essential or not. Users will be none-the-wiser as to why they are seeing the message, even though it is “the law”. The link provided takes the user to the general privacy policy meaning they have to search for information on cookies. There is also use of the dreaded “click here” link text - so they’re making a nod towards complying with cookie laws, but not accessibility ones.

And, let’s not forget the name cookie itself. No doubt the irony of a cookie policy on a cooking website will be lost on most users, leaving them trying to work out why there are now laws around the small sweet cakes that Delia, and most of the rest of us, are so fond of!

According to the Guardian, the Information Commissioner’s Office suggested Reddbridge Media as a good solution (below). We’d suggest it’s far from perfect, presenting a conflicting mixture of statements and calls-to-action, with the white underlined text looking just like a link for added confusion:

Reddbridge Media cookie statement

These are just two examples, and we should at least give credit to the sites for being upfront about their use of cookies. Over the coming months we’ll no doubt see many more variations, and with a bit of luck, perhaps a dominant ‘best practice’ message will come forward!