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I’ve got this idea about explaining to people how each webpage on a site was personalized to them. E.g. the currency you see can be based on the location-from-IP address, the article recommendation widget is personalized based on previous pages you’ve visited on the site, the comment field can be shown above the below-article-ads if you’ve previously left comments on the site, ads are personalized based on a million factors, …

How best to convey all this information? I’ve been thinking about sticking it down in the footer and explaining it with text, but it gets so complex so far as each pageview can have dozens of personalization factors that affected the page.

No idea what I’m talking about? I’m trying to answer Personalization's big question: Why am I seeing this?

4 Answers 4

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Haven't you seen these messages recently one any website? I think this is the best way you can inform users what you are doing.

Do not stick to the footer because that section might go unnoticed - display it on header with a dismiss option.

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And this:

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  • I was hoping for suggestions for a good way of doing things. The EU cookie notice is about to expire anyway. I was thinking more about actually listing up all the specifics about what went in to personalizing the page, and not some generic legal text.
    – Daniel
    Feb 7, 2017 at 13:14
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I don't have permission to comment otherwise I would have added this:

DPS' answer is a valid one. He doesn't mean adding a cookie notice but adding what you wanted to say as a notice in a similar style.

However, you could also consider having a symbol or a "Why am I seeing this?" text that on hover gives an explanation of why that particular element has come up for that particular user.

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If the main source of personalization is the location-from-IP, you may display a country flag in your header.

Clicking on it may open a Change your region dialog, which is also a good place to display all other personalization options IMHO, but you still need to test this intuition with users.

Since this is an extension of the Change language pattern, it should be familiar to users who experience differences due to travel and/or accessing web via company proxy in different country.

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This raises one big question for me: do users want to be confronted with such in-depth explanations of how their information is being used? Most users seem to be aware nowadays that their information is being used to 'increase' their experience, but it is left so vague they are, I suppose, blissfully unaware how far the tracking goes. They simply see the end-result of this tracking for personalisation; less effort needed on their behalf and more accurate content. But, would he or she want to know how it's possible that it's so accurate? I would keep it as a layer behind the content, per @Sam Mearns suggestion. Only those that truly wish to know, should see it.

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