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Cookies.

Not the small, flat circles of unhealthy awesomeness, I’m talking about HTTP cookies (or internet, browser, or anything else you might want to call them). Cookies are small files which get saved to your computer or device when you visit a website.

The main use of cookies is not to steal information about your mums birthday or your credit card details, but to ensure that your experience of a website is the best possible. For example, our own website nott-studios.co.uk uses cookies to remember your language settings. When a user visits our website for the first time, he’s prompted to choose a language. As soon as he chooses language, a cookie is set to remember that choice, so that when he goes back to our website in a few days time, he doesn’t have to choose a language again.

There are lots of ways possible of using cookies to maximise website usability (Grr – I really hate this word by the way). As you might imagine, cookies only are only useful if a user is repeatedly visiting the same website as they store preferences.

Since cookies can store information about the user, they are covered by Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations, which were last revised in 2011. The body responsible for enforcing these regulations is the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). What does this mean for an internet user? It means websites should have a clear cookie policy stating how they use cookies (and I’m pretty sure we win in this aspect). Here’s how our cookie functionality looks on our website:

Cookie pop-up

Since not every user wants data stored about them in cookies, there must be a way of stopping websites from creating cookies. The best way to do this is through browser settings. These options are usually under privacy sections. For example, here is how it looks on Google Chrome (to see privacy options at all you need to click advanced options):

cookie settings

As you can see, there are few options there. A user can set any option and these settings will apply to all websites visited using that browser. These settings may, or may not sync between different devices, that solely depends on the synchronisation settings within the browser.

As with every law there is an opposition to it. Our favourite website for that side of the argument is http://nocookielaw.com/. At the end of the day it’s up to the Webmaster if his website will adhere to the Cookie Law or not. ICO does have a system for reporting cookie concerns, and they also take actions based upon those reports.

Nott Studios uses cookies to keep language preferences. This is to ensure that once a user selects language, he doesn’t have to repeatedly select it every time he visits our website. However, that choice is not set in stone. One can easily change the language in the top right corner of our home page, and that new language will override the old setting for later use.

Language Change

That is all concerning cookies and their laws. This post also acts as our cookie policy.

Cheers