Cookie Customization
Consider showing participants what cookies you are collecting, why they are relevant to the study, and how participants can customize which cookies are tracked or shared with your research team.

Giving participants this control early on demonstrates your respect for their right to privacy. Doing so can help build a long-term relationship with participants, and establish their trust in your commitment to protect their information.
All-or-nothing cookie consent is creepy.
People say “yes” to cookie policies all the time. However, saying “yes” does not mean study participants are aware that their information can be used for advertising purposes. It may lead them to unexpectedly see targeted ads about the study or their health condition when they visit other websites.
Targeted advertisements could make participants feel embarassed, worried, and distrustful about who has access to their information. These negative feelings could cause a participant to stop contributing data and to withdraw from the study.
Worst Case Scenario: Participant Has No Choice But to Accept All Cookies
View larger
Cookie customization garners trust.
Instead of making participants accept all cookies, tell participants that their cookies might be capturing other sensitive data. Inform them about what types of cookies you are collecting for the study, what purpose they serve for the study, and if any 3rd-party will be involved in processing this data. Ask participants for explicit consent before using these cookies for targeted advertising, and always give them the option to opt out.
Consider educating your participants on how to turn off 3rd-party cookies to stop organizations from creating targeted ads based on their personal health information. Doing so can help set reasonable expectations about privacy, build trust, and increase the participant’s commitment to the study.
Best Practice: Cookie Customization
View larger
What to prepare?
Step 1
Explain how cookies are being collected and used.
Tell the participant if these cookies are from a 1st- or 3rd-party. Describe the reason for collecting these cookies and how it will help the research study.
Step 2
Allow the participant to turn on and off individual cookies.
Give the participant control over which cookies can be turned on and off for the purpose of the study. Help them make an informed decision about customization by explaining who the individual cookies are shared with, how this information is reported, and what settings serve their best interest.
Case Studies
An opt-in tool for third party tracking
Privacy UX: Better Cookie Consent Experiences
Vitaly Friedman
Designing Away the Cookie Disclaimer
Sebastian Greger
I Found Your Data. It's For Sale.
Geoffrey A. Fowler
Cookie Customization Patterns