With Brexit looming on the horizon, Zoopla needed to make a few updates to their Privacy Policy.

Much like Brexit, the average website privacy policy is a giant, festering clod of incomprehensible, often conflicting, technical jargon that everyone pretends to understand while secretly doing their best to forget about. Well, almost everyone.

This kind of area is like catnip to a content designer, and seemed like a great opportunity to demonstrate to a skeptical business what content design could do. The problem was, with resources stretched and everything a high priority, how to convince stakeholders to invest in more than just a patch-job.


‘So guys, we need to update the Privacy Policy…’


A quick check with Hemingwayapp revealed the old Zoopla Privacy Policy was only accessible to people with a reading level beyond 18 years old. That’s bad for legal copy, but worse when you consider the average UK reading age is around 9 years old

Could something this inaccessible even be considered legally binding? We weren’t sure.

Analytics on the old page weren’t robust enough for us to draw any firm conclusions around users’ intent. Traffic was, unsurprisingly, low and the bounce rate was high. However, we did glean one useful insight from talks with Zoopla’s Data Protection Officer (DPO).

Since the Zoopla website displays publicly available information about people’s properties, several times a week the DPO would receive emails from disgruntled members of the public asking for their information to be removed or changed. The most likely place they found his email address is on the Privacy Policy page.

Resolving this kind of complaint is not a matter for a DPO, who was wasting valuable time forwarding them to Zoopla’s customer care team to resolve.

Calculating the hours the DPO wasted each month on these types of enquiries gave us a figure in pounds. It wasn’t much, but it was enough to justify investing a little content design, UI design and engineering time to fix it.

Zoopla’s old Privacy Policy: daunting even from a distance.


With the DPO fully behind improving accessibility, we worked closely to reorganise and reword the content. 

The new page, designed mobile-first, rolled out quietly in May 2019.

The biggest change is in the clear distinction between user benefits and business benefits. This way, users can quickly read through and understand exactly what they (and Zoopla) are getting in exchange for their data. 

Clearer signposting should also guide disgruntled property owners away from the DPO’s contact details (moved to the end of the page) and towards Zoopla’s customer care team.

The content as a whole has been broken up into more manageable pieces, illustrated where it all gets a bit heavy, and structured so it’s easier to scan. 

Most importantly, the language used is now accessible to a reading age of 9-10 years old. Which may (and I’d be happy to be proven wrong) make this the world’s most readable privacy policy.

Whether the new page will succeed in reducing unnecessary enquiries to the DPO, time will tell. Hopefully it demonstrated to stakeholders what can be achieved by designing content-first.

View the new Zoopla Privacy Policy.


Mmm. That new Privacy Policy smell…