[Summarising] Summary

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.

This pattern aims at summarising the main information related to the processing of personal data. This restitution can be done before more complete information, thus proposing an overview of the contents, or afterwards, such as a recap.   

This approach makes it possible to highlight, for example through a clearly defined visual space, the key information in a section or document to make it easier to read and glimpse, which is particularly useful for someone looking for a given information.

Using the pattern in the user journey

When signing-up: this pattern can be used at the end of the registration process to remind individuals of key information about the processing or choices they have made regarding the use of their data. The summary can also be used as a specific step in the registration process to inform individuals about the processing of their personal data, thus acting as a first level of information.

In a privacy policy: used at the beginning of the policy, this pattern highlights the most salient aspects of the processing. At the beginning of each section, it can be used to summarise the information contained, for example by listing the categories of data processed or by giving a synthetic answer to a question in an FAQ or a 5Q structure style.

When using the service : when the user journey of the service requires several steps and interactions, this pattern may be relevant to use at the end to allow the person to have an overview of how their data are used and the choices they may have made, as proposed in VoDocumentaire with a recap of the data used made available alongside the invoice of an online order.


The information put forward in this pattern should clearly reflect the notable points of the processing and not overshadow them. These points may for example come from a data protection impact assessment and highlight the potential risks to individuals;

This information should not be a commercial approach that only highlights the perceived “positive” aspects, as this could lead to a “dark patternas described in the guidelines on dark patternsin social media published by the European Data Protection Board.

A simple summary alone cannot constitute valid information to individuals within the meaning of the GDPR and must always be accompanied by detailed information that comply with the regulation.

The use of icons or other visual elements with this pattern is particularly relevant to aid reading and draw attention. In this context, the icon can reflect the contents or just point to the summary as such.

Videos can be used for this pattern to summarise content in an engaging way, especially for young audiences.

This pattern is very relevant when used in combination with layered information. The summary offers a first level of information that can be completed with more thorough information, for example accessible via a “read more” link or dropdown content.

It is important that summaries contain the information that people really want and need. To do this, it is possible to carry out user research to identify them. While the summary acts as a first level of information, care must be taken to respect the prioritisation of information (fr) required by the GDPR.


Possible approach

Au début de chaque section de la politique de confidentialité, un encadré est présent synthétisant les informations qu’elle contient. En l’occurrence, l’encadré liste les données traitées par le service.

Attention point

Dans cet exemple, des encadrés sont également disponibles au début de chaque section de la politique de confidentialité du service. Néanmoins, les informations ainsi mises en avant sont assez vagues et ne permettent pas à la personne de se faire une idée claire des informations qu’il pourra y trouver.

Données & Design par LINC