Easiest way to comply with UK Cookie law on websites (PECR)

Thanks to the good old EU and it’s charming directives, UK law now requires websites to show a warning to the user if they are using cookies. This is the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations (PECR), and there’s specific cookie info here.

Let’s lay aside the fact that this is incredibly tedious for the user, who either already knows that almost all sites use cookies, or else doesn’t know what a cookie is and probably doesn’t care.

If you’re a developer having to implement this, I’ve found a superbly easy to use and quick to implement Cookie Law compliance solution. You just follow a little wizard which generates a snippet of Javascript that you paste into the <head> section of the page, and you’re done. No downloads, no faffing about. It probably couldn’t get any easier!


Hats off to them for a job well done! (This isn’t a paid endorsement, by the way!)

A “fan” of simplicity

This blog post from Digital Amit is an oldie-but-goodie on a quick lesson in simplicity. This could be a useful story for you to tell when motivating your teams to keep it simple!

It compares two approaches to solving the problem of weeding out an empty box of soap on a manufacturing line.

Of course, you might argue that there should be a root cause analysis to find out why the box of soap was empty in the first place, but that spoils the point of the story!

Benefits of staying simple: Lewis Hamilton Formula 1 Style

Here’s an interesting BBC article on the benefit of staying simple when performance really matters, as seen from the high performance perspective of Formula 1 racing driver – and former world champion – Lewis Hamilton.

Hamilton’s central argument is that  “When it’s not simple, it can be stressful, and when you’re stressed you’re not working at your best.”

It’s well worth a read.


Simplify your data: stop capturing data you don’t need

One of the most common issues I see when trying to simplify all kinds web pages, and even offline paper forms, is asking for information that isn’t being used anywhere. This applies to sign-up processes, sales funnels, insurance applications: pretty much everywhere you are capturing data from a user.

It seems almost trivial to say this, but for each piece of data you capture, it’s worth asking how that data will then be used. How will it be processed? What decisions will be made based on this piece of data?

If it turns out the data is not being used at all, or is not being used meaningfully, then consider removing that field and not capturing that data any more.

Why simplify your data capture?

There are three main reasons to consider making your data more simple:

1. Simplifying data will save time for the user filling in the information, and especially in cases where you can remove more than one field this might make the difference between a user filling in a form, or giving up and going elsewhere. Often (but not always), the less information you ask for, the more people will fill in the form (so the higher your conversion rate, if you’re building a sales funnel.)

2. Simplifying your data will make processing the data easier too. Every line of code in software theoretically needs testing, and might also fail regression tests and break during later changes to the software, so there is a maintenance overhead and a cost for every piece of information that you capture.

3. In the UK, the Data Protection Act 1998, Schedule 1, states that, “Personal data shall be adequate, relevant and not excessive in relation to the purpose or purposes for which they are processed.” So by simplifying the data you capture, and removing fields that are no longer used, you’ll help with legal compliance too.

Action Points

Review the places where you ask for data from users. For each piece of data you capture, decide whether it is being meaningfully processed or used to help with decision making. If not, consider not capturing that data any more.