There are three kinds of people in this world. People who can’t understand Terms of Service, people who don’t want to waste their time on them and, of course, lawyers. Terms of Service are usually long and hard to decipher legalese. They’re designed to methodically detail what the relationship you are entering into when you sign up for a service entails. Basically, they’re designed to protect the company you are doing business with from a lawsuit from one or more of their customers.
It makes sense that TOS exist. We live in a very litigious society and anyway that a business can avoid lawsuits is going to be pursued by that business. Lawsuits can be expensive and business threatening, in some cases. I thought we were doomed to read TOS or skip them for all time, with no middle ground, until I came across an article on The Next Web about the Terms of Service on Heello.
Heello has an interesting take on presenting Terms of Service. Don’t worry, they still give you the long, methodical legalese version, if you’re into that. Alongside it though, they provide short summaries for real people with other things to do than read TOS for hours. I was able to read their shortened version in under a minute. They chose to get cute a couple times in there and I think I would avoid that myself, but I don’t fault them for that. It’s their business. Why shouldn’t they have a little fun?
The article pointed out that they aren’t the only ones pursuing this style of TOS display. Apparently, 500px and Pinterest were already doing it. I don’t care. This is one place where I hope everyone becomes a copycat. I know that I’ll definitely put it into practice the next time I need to create a TOS. Strangely, I’m suddenly looking forward to crafting one soon.