Monday, March 14, 2005

"Nutrition" labels for websites?

As reported by CNET, Microsoft's done an interesting thing this week - they've created a set of standardized statements, the same from site to site, explaining exactly what a visitor might need to know about the site's inner workings - how the company collects information, their policy on selling email addresses, direct contact information for the company, etc. It's all part of a movement started by the Center for Internet Policy Leadership, to get companies to provide the same standardized transparency information in the same format, on the same place at each website. The hope, then, is that it become like the government-mandated nutrition labels all foods must carry here in the US; by using a consistent font and layout from product to product, you make the process less confusing to the consumer, and easier for them to directly compare information from one company to the next. It's an intriguing development, I think, and one that I hope catches on with other companies out there.