How can tech companies increase readership of Terms and Conditions.? (T&Cs)
“Yes, I have read and agree to the terms and conditions.”
This is probably one of the biggest lies of all times. Let’s face it, no one really reads the terms and conditions governing the usage of a piece of software. And for those who even try to, the terms and conditions are always too long and boring to complete it.
Believe it or not, reading the Terms of Service is helpful. It helps you know where you stand when that piece of software is concerned. Privacy details include the list. With the recent Facebook data breach, one should consider taking a look at the terms and conditions. That way, you can know exactly what could happen to your data.
The current method of delivering T&Cs is non-ideal. Here are a few things tech companies can do to increase readership.
1. Summarize, summarize, summarize
T&Cs can reach thousands of words. For people who hate reading, this is an agony to go through. You may like reading, but once you start and see how long and boring it is, you will give up. We understand that companies want to include all the available terms and conditions into one list. But does it seriously have to be that long? Maybe if they reduce the length, we may one day read the Terms of Service to the very end.
2. Deliver content in digestible bits
Once the T&C have been sufficiently summarized, the method of delivery matters. Putting them alongside the sign-up page doesn’t help. When we’re trying to use a site, we’re more interested in getting in. At that moment, the terms of service are just a little obstacle which could be removed by simply clicking, “I accept”. What exactly have you accepted to? That should give you something to think about.
Companies could forgo the conventional approach and try out something else.
How about pop-ups? Each summarized term should be clipped to a popup dialog and delivered in spaced-out intervals. Just like the way the cookie popup is displayed. You could see the important stuff, given in a sentence or two. Each popup could carry a different term of service, with respect to the company’s policies. Also, these popups should not get too cumbersome, as they will get rather boring.
3. Animations? Videos?
Everything can be represented in video nowadays. Think of how far advertisements have come. Texts are boring, and honestly not fun to look at. Motion pictures, on the other hand, can be entertaining. Videos, especially when done right, can influence people.
This concept can be applied to terms and conditions. Instead of text, why not showcase company policies in a creative animation? No more long sentences. Show us colorful animations/videos!
But then, some people are also too lazy to watch videos. And even a shortened version of text and conditions will bore others. Constant popups can get annoying. Maybe there is no way out of this. Maybe T&Cs will always be ignored.
There will always be Terms of Service. And there will always be people who will never bother to look at them.