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GDPR, privacy policy, accessibility, are you confident your website is compliant?

In 2021, it goes without saying that your website is going to be your first impression on a huge swathe of potential customers. Despite the Internet’s ubiquity, regulatory efforts around user privacy and data ownership has only really hit forefront in the last couple of years with the introduction of the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and an ever-expanding range of sector-specific data protection advice and other standards. Here are just a few things to consider for a new year website review:

GDPR: What it is and what you need to do GDPR was initially ratified in 2016 and came into effect in 2018. Its main purpose was to give users more control over their data, including the data they produce while using and navigating through a given website. In terms of user/consumer experience, this manifests as the ability to control what information cookies are allowed to collect, object to the processing of their personal data, and have any data collected about them deleted on request. In order to be compliant with GDPR, you must ensure there your website provides clear mechanisms to fulfil each of the above requirements, as well as functions within your website that notify the user what data is being collected and when. This is only a very broad overview of the requirements of GDPR, so it may be best to consult experts to ensure your website is compliant. The EU itself has expressed some dissatisfaction with GDPR, primarily due to its lack of ability to adapt to emerging technologies such as AI, blockchain, or the Internet of Things. So, if you’re looking to add something innovative or new to your website, do account for it coming under further regulatory scrutiny in the future.

Privacy policy Privacy policies are informed by the regulations and standards described above, but they function as your own statement of fulfilment of these requirements, as well as fulfilling one of the requirements by describing how your website/business processes data. It must be publicly available and specifically displayed whenever your website/business is about to collect some data, giving the user the opportunity to consult it and make an informed decision.

Quality over quantity In an ever more crowded digital space, the quality of your content marketing will become much more prescient. This is both in terms of the quality of the content itself and the quality of your targeting. Video will remain increasingly important as a way of retaining attention on your products, especially with increasingly niche online subcultures arising around specific product categories and products themselves. Be sure to find that niche and foster it through influencer marketing, sponsored content, or producing content yourself. This will make all the difference between a potential customer hitting a skip button or just scrolling past, and them sticking around to engage with your product.

Accessibility One final area to give proper consideration is accessibility, allowing people of all abilities to effectively navigate and make use of your website. A large part of achieving this comes at the infrastructural level: choosing an appropriate content management system (CMS) that supports accessibility functions. Further steps can and should be taken, such as organising content with headers for proper content organisation, including alt texts for images, and using colour in ways that won’t affect those with colour deficiencies. These are only a few of the ways to ensure the accessibility of your website, so, again, bringing in consultants or experts to identify areas of weakness and opportunities for improvement is likely the most effective way forward. Minc and their team of compliance experts can identify areas for improvement and help you get your website up to standard. Find out more here.

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