Privacy and security

Adapted from A Guide to Crafting Meaningful Security and Privacy Experiences

The desire to feel and be safe is an intrinsic human need. But when it comes to technology, the lack of transparency, meaningful choices, and understanding of the system leads people to feel that they have little control over their privacy and security. Besides these barriers, the digital ecosystem is often overwhelmingly complex.

For Mozilla’s digital privacy and security and privacy tools to truly feel meaningful to people, we must inspire trust and provide a sense of control.

Earn and keep people’s trust

Look legitimate and polished. Perceived trustworthiness is just as important.

Minimize scare tactics. Provide measured facts instead.

Protect people upfront. If it keeps them safe, you don't need their permission.

Respect their time and task

Focus on the impact to their task. Spend less time explaining the technical issue.

Flag threats; don't assume they’ll notice. The absence of positive indicators isn't enough.

Avoid interrupting them. Wait until they’re done or choose a safe default.

Help them make thoughtful decisions

Use consistent emotional cues. Positive cues emphasize safety, while negative ones emphasize danger.

Make safe choices easier to select. Make it harder to put themselves at risk.

Lower the impact of making mistakes. Reduce the pressure of making the "right" choice right now.

Offer control without harming them

When they have no choice, explain why. Helping them understand stills gives me some control.

Make the effect of each option clear. Novices want guidance, not a control panel.

Give power users configurable controls. Technical users want precision and flexibility.

Guidelines for privacy and security copy

Avoid absolutes. You can never fully be 100% protected from every single privacy and security threat, and we can’t write content that implies that, either directly or implicitly. Absolutes can also open us up to legal risk.

The more specific you can be about the level of protection being offered, the better. What or who are you being protected from?

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