Privacy & UX Part 2.: Why you should design better cookie consent experiences 

UX design plays a huge role in providing great cookie consent experiences. This blog posts explores the connection.

In the first part of this blog post, we looked at the connection between poor cookie consent and UX. Now, we’re going to roll up our sleeves and dig into the real problem—as well as the solution.

Why UX design for cookie consent is so bad

On one hand, companies needed to comply with strict privacy regulations and clearly inform website visitors of their rights in order to obtain explicit concern.

On the other hand, they needed to make sure they were not interrupting the user journey—all the while not taking away from the website’s content or aesthetics. 

It was no easy feat, and some companies just slapped together some horrendously-looking, quick-fix solutions to ‘check all the boxes.’

From endless dropdown menus, ambiguous check boxes, creative sliders, to landmines of embedded links—there has been all sorts of stomach-churning consent UX which do not help to inform the user at all.

Source: Troy Hunt

“By overwhelming users with technobabble, legal jargon and a myriad of options, companies know damn well that users will not have the time or inclination to make informed decisions. Most users are simply clicking yes and moving on.” (

And is that what you really want? To pressure a potential customer to make a decision haphazardly, not knowing what they’re really agreeing to?

Probably not. 

And if you’re thinking ‘but visitors can easily opt out of consenting’, think again. Based on a website consent tracking experiment done by a Vice editor, she was unsure if she successfully opted out of 34% of the websites she visited. 

In the world of consent cookies, you’re darned if you do, and you’re darned if you don’t. 

Common cookie consent UX pitfalls not to fall into

As we mentioned, it was a challenge for companies to a) ensure their website is privacy compliant b) not interrupt the user experience, but it doesn’t mean it’s impossible.

Sure, you may have to spend a lot more time coming up with a more empathetic, respectful, and informative cookie consent UX, but it’s in your best interest to do it well—or it may cost you in the long run.

Why you need to avoid ‘Accept All’ at all costs: 

It’s so much easier for companies to just design a cookie consent UX that just prompts users to ‘Accept All’ out of desperation. We get it: no one wants to see their website traffic drop off because of a few cookies. 

Source: UX Design - How to design ‘cookie consent’ fairly?

But this is not an effective long term solution, nor does it help the growing ‘Consent Fatigue’ many of us are experiencing. 

“‘Consent Fatigue’: burdening users with questions and forcing decisions when they access a website for the first time.” (

As companies, we need to do better than just rely on the apathy of our users and cross our fingers, hoping they’ll ‘Accept All’.

Also, wouldn’t you rather have consent from users who are actually interested in your brand and content, who give you their consent enthusiastically? 

That’s why it’s important to resist consent UX design faux-pas. The worst of them all? ‘Dark Pattern’.

Dark pattern: resist crossing over to ‘the dark side’

With a name like a bad sci-fi thriller movie, Dark Patterns are known as UI/UX cookie consent practices that “lure internet users into providing consent for cookies”. According to UX specialist Harry Brignull who coined the term—they trick users into “doing a thing you wouldn’t otherwise have done.”

It’s fundamental for your business to not fall victim to them because 1) they can be illegal 2) they are deceptive and make your brand look bad.

For example, the app below asks you if it can collect your data, but doesn’t provide an option to opt-out, thus ‘nudging’ you to say yes. 

Source: Ensighten - What are Dark Patterns?

Or this one, which is just flat-out confusing and not giving you a simple way to disable cookies: 

Source: Ensighten - What are Dark Patterns?

The point of the matter is this: is this really the type of first impression you want to have on a potential customer who could be loyal for years to come?

Brands that usually fall into the ‘dark patterns’ trap are likely afraid of low cookie acceptance rate. We know it’s tempting to implement a quick-fix with minimal damage—but it’s not right.

What if we told you there is a solution to boost your cookie opt-in rate, that is 100% grass-fed, and dark-pattern-free?

3 best practices for great cookie consent UX design:

Good and bad cookie consent UX design comes down to 3 things: clarity, simplicity, and empathy.

Clarity means that the visitor should clearly understand from your cookie consent banner, why you are collecting their data, what you will do with it, and how to accept/ opt-out/ manage your preferences: 

“Website owners should give a fair choice between two options. They should explain what happens to users' data, how it will be stored and for how long. Nothing should be left to interpretation.” ( 

Simplicity means they shouldn’t have to navigate a MC Escher-esque website and menus to find your privacy policy or to change their preferences.

Empathy means that you’re designing with the end-users in mind—not only empowering them with choice—but also presenting the consent process to them in a friendly and personalized way.

Optimize your cookie opt-in rate with Axeptio

With a CMP Consent Management Platform like Axeptio, it’s totally possible to design a beautiful consent UX that is also compliant and increases opt-in rates.

Sounds too good to be true? Let us explain how we’re different:

  • First, we don’t rush the consent experience. We know trust takes time to build, even if it’s the first impression 
  • We’re fans of using conversational language and friendly, cute cookie characters to set a welcoming tone
  • Instead of blocking the visitor from your content right away to get consent, we wait for various on-page engagements like a scroll on the page or the click on a button, then we apply our freezing overlay and very politely ask for their consent
  • We try to integrate our tool as seamlessly as possible into your design, so it doesn’t feel like we’re interrupting the flow

Cookie consent UX doesn’t have to be complicated. Or shady. Or ugly. It can be perfectly compliant, all the while respecting your website aesthetics, brand values, and most of all—your user. 

So now you’ve heard us talk the talk, and want to see us walk the walk? Challenge accepted. Sign up for your free trial and see how you can transform your cookie consent UX with us.