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Legal content: The final frontier for content strategyFrances GordonSenior content strategist and plain-language writer
Legal content
To consumers... it’s of no value  Don’t know.                      This is how you’ll  Don’t care.                      sc...
To corporations... it’s a necessary evil Gets in the      Expensive to                                      Protects us ag...
To people like us…? I hope that this presentation inspires a respect and determination to give value to what is now the ‘s...
What is legal content?Content that creates an agreement and legal obligation.                            A meeting of     ...
In the realworld
Meet Innocent
Literacy levels are lowProgress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) 2006 Russian Federation      Hong Kong SAR...
And oncorporatewebsites?
A typical clause Disclaimer Save for our company being liable to you – • under the Consumer Protection Act 68 of 2008 (“CP...
Tick this box if you agree with the terms andconditions.**We know you won’t click here, and if you do, you won’tbe able to...
What we have now is not okay• We have at best carelessly, at worst, misleadingly,  transferred offline to online.• (It’s e...
What we have now is not ok.•   Business reasons: reputational damage•   Brand reasons: unprofessionalism•   Ethical reason...
So what do wedo?
We start to create inclusive content 1   Voice 2   Mobi 3   Paper
1   Voice2   Mobi3   Paper
3 Paper
The showdown with the legal departmentSo how do we change this
Focus on what we can agreeWhat we have now isnot okay.
The corporate lawyer...                     • Loves law but is not                                                      ...
Their job...To reduce risk oflitigation.
General principles• Have a lawyer by your side• Meet the litigation attorney• Respect the legalities, not the legalese• Us...
Using Brain Traffic’s quad:
Workflow         Governance         Substance            StructureWorkflow• At the start, give them the opportunity to exp...
Workflow        Governance       Substance      StructureGovernanceGive them a role, and they will play it.               ...
Workflow         Governance    Substance   StructureSubstanceUnderstand the ingredients.       There is no such       thin...
Workflow         Governance         Substance         StructureStructure• Structure is the hard part• If you have a tough ...
Conclusion: legal content is content• ‘Legal content’ is a meaningless phrase... Talk about what you  have to tell your co...
Frances Gordon | frances@simplified.co.za | @Simplified_SA
References and acknowledgements• Cheryl Stephens: How to get lawyers to use plain  language and be cooperative , Journal #...
Terms and conditions: the final frontier for content strategy
Terms and conditions: the final frontier for content strategy
Terms and conditions: the final frontier for content strategy
Terms and conditions: the final frontier for content strategy
Terms and conditions: the final frontier for content strategy
Terms and conditions: the final frontier for content strategy
Terms and conditions: the final frontier for content strategy
Terms and conditions: the final frontier for content strategy
Terms and conditions: the final frontier for content strategy
Terms and conditions: the final frontier for content strategy
Terms and conditions: the final frontier for content strategy
Terms and conditions: the final frontier for content strategy
Terms and conditions: the final frontier for content strategy
Terms and conditions: the final frontier for content strategy
Terms and conditions: the final frontier for content strategy
Terms and conditions: the final frontier for content strategy
Terms and conditions: the final frontier for content strategy
Terms and conditions: the final frontier for content strategy
Terms and conditions: the final frontier for content strategy
Terms and conditions: the final frontier for content strategy
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Terms and conditions: the final frontier for content strategy

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This presentation was given at Content Strategy Forum 2012. It argues for a new approach to online terms and conditions.

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Terms and conditions: the final frontier for content strategy

  1. 1. Legal content: The final frontier for content strategyFrances GordonSenior content strategist and plain-language writer
  2. 2. Legal content
  3. 3. To consumers... it’s of no value Don’t know. This is how you’ll Don’t care. screw me if something goes wrong.
  4. 4. To corporations... it’s a necessary evil Gets in the Expensive to Protects us against way of sales change and those consumers maintain out to get us
  5. 5. To people like us…? I hope that this presentation inspires a respect and determination to give value to what is now the ‘small print’ of digital communications. Change can and must happen.
  6. 6. What is legal content?Content that creates an agreement and legal obligation. A meeting of the minds The trend for laws and regulations that protect the consumer is international and is growing.
  7. 7. In the realworld
  8. 8. Meet Innocent
  9. 9. Literacy levels are lowProgress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) 2006 Russian Federation Hong Kong SAR Canada, Alberta Singapore, Italy Germany USA England New Zealand France Poland Belgium Norway RomaniaTrinidad and Tobago Indonesia Morocco South Africa 250 300 350 400 450 500 550
  10. 10. And oncorporatewebsites?
  11. 11. A typical clause Disclaimer Save for our company being liable to you – • under the Consumer Protection Act 68 of 2008 (“CPA”) in relation to any products sold us to you via the Website; and • under sections 43(5) and 43(6) of the ECT Act in relation to our payment systems not being sufficiently secure, Neither our company nor any of its agents or representatives shall be liable for any damage, loss or liability of whatsoever nature arising from the use or inability to use this Website or the services or content provided from and through this Website. Furthermore, our company makes no representations or warranties, implied or otherwise, that, amongst others, the content and technology available from this Website are free from errors or omissions or that the service will be 100% uninterrupted and error free. You are encouraged to report any possible malfunctions and errors via email.
  12. 12. Tick this box if you agree with the terms andconditions.**We know you won’t click here, and if you do, you won’tbe able to wade through 10 pages of Web-unfriendlylegalese.And by the way, the terms and conditions are ouragreement, not anything else on the site.
  13. 13. What we have now is not okay• We have at best carelessly, at worst, misleadingly, transferred offline to online.• (It’s easier to hide things online?)
  14. 14. What we have now is not ok.• Business reasons: reputational damage• Brand reasons: unprofessionalism• Ethical reasons: unfair and misleading (scenarios)• Legal reasons: imprecise and, in fact, often illegal• If the UX community does not start engaging, things will get worse. The remit of legal content is growing with protectionist laws.
  15. 15. So what do wedo?
  16. 16. We start to create inclusive content 1 Voice 2 Mobi 3 Paper
  17. 17. 1 Voice2 Mobi3 Paper
  18. 18. 3 Paper
  19. 19. The showdown with the legal departmentSo how do we change this
  20. 20. Focus on what we can agreeWhat we have now isnot okay.
  21. 21. The corporate lawyer...  • Loves law but is not  • Does not love change idealistic • Does not love technology • Loves criticism • Does not see the forest • Loves the trees (not the forest)Reference: Cheryl Stephens, 2012
  22. 22. Their job...To reduce risk oflitigation.
  23. 23. General principles• Have a lawyer by your side• Meet the litigation attorney• Respect the legalities, not the legalese• Use the laws related to UX – you are the experts at implementing them: – Plain Writing Act (US) – Consumer Protection Act (SA) – Consumer codes (EU)• Use mobile as a catalyst What if, in 10 years’ time...
  24. 24. Using Brain Traffic’s quad:
  25. 25. Workflow Governance Substance StructureWorkflow• At the start, give them the opportunity to explain the intention of the laws to you• Put legal brief at the start, legal review at the end• Give more checkpoints, not less• If you are not succeeding, break up your process into smaller steps with smaller chunks Keep moving
  26. 26. Workflow Governance Substance StructureGovernanceGive them a role, and they will play it. You are only allowed to review where we are exposing the company to risk. You are not reviewing tone.
  27. 27. Workflow Governance Substance StructureSubstanceUnderstand the ingredients. There is no such thing as boilerplate.
  28. 28. Workflow Governance Substance StructureStructure• Structure is the hard part• If you have a tough audience, try to present structure after you have presented and signed off some detail• Customise content as you need to (you will have to argue for this)
  29. 29. Conclusion: legal content is content• ‘Legal content’ is a meaningless phrase... Talk about what you have to tell your consumer from a business, brand, ethical and legal perspective• Legal content is part of your user experience, if not at the time of purchase, later, if things go wrong• Create scenarios not only for now, but also long term
  30. 30. Frances Gordon | frances@simplified.co.za | @Simplified_SA
  31. 31. References and acknowledgements• Cheryl Stephens: How to get lawyers to use plain language and be cooperative , Journal #66, Clarity International• Content quad of Brain Traffic (slide 45) is at http://blog.braintraffic.com/2012/07/from-the- archive-brain-traffic-lands-the-quad/• Michele Sohn (Spoke) designed this presentation• Candice Burt (Simplified) contributed content• Copyright belongs to Simplified

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