[Browsing] Using keywords

This design pattern is part of the LINC’s research initiative focusing on interface design. It comes from frequent proposals made by participants of the Data & Design workshops to implement the principle of transparency provided in the GDPR. It can be used and adapted to the specific context of your services and products. However, its reuse as such do not guarantee compliance with the GDPR in general and the principle of transparency in particular.

Keywords are terms that refer to important aspects, to people, of the personal data processing. They offer a complementary navigation modality in the contents of a page, such as the privacy policy, or another functionality, such as a search bar. In practice, a keyword can be a simple word (“advertising”) or, in many cases, a common phrase corresponding to a recurring request, for example (“disable advertising”).

Using the pattern in the user journey

In a privacy policy: this pattern provides another way of reading a privacy policy. Keywords can be present as fixed clickable elements at the beginning of the policy that redirect to related sections. For example, the keyword “advertising” takes the person to the sections explaining the data collected for advertising targeting and the controls available.  

When using the service: keywords, implemented as a tag in the service interface, can redirect to the corresponding section of a privacy policy or to a dashboard. For example, when a person is confronted with an advertisement while using the service, a tag under the ad called “Targeted Content” redirects them to the section of the policy concerning ad targeting.

In case of a problem with the data or its use: this pattern can be used in addition to a search bar implemented in a Q&A, for example as tags present under the search bar or as an auto-completion proposal. The keywords thus serve as a guide for finding a quick answer to the problem.


The words chosen by the controller must clearly and explicitly highlight information that is relevant and important to individuals in relation to their personal data;

Keywords allow you to search based on suggested terms, which is useful for someone who does not have the knowledge of specific terms to meet their need.

This pattern may give people the impression that they have accessed all the information on a specific point concerning the protection of their personal data. This is not necessarily true and one must ensure that this confusion does not exist, for example by adding “…” at the end or by adding a “+” or a redirection link to related information.


Possible approach (animation)

The keywords are provided here after the introductory statement of the privacy policy. They allow you to navigate directly to the relevant information available in the policy.

Données & Design par LINC