Open Associates

CLICK TO CONFIRM YOU HAVE READ OUR TERMS

It might seem like a strange thing for creative designers to be writing about but, having recently completed developing a couple of large sites clients that included a requirement for users to agree to having read terms and conditions, I found myself wondering what it means to click the Agree button.

This has become an almost daily requirement for many of us in our digitized lives. The problem of course is that we general don’t give a moments thought what we are agreeing to. A recent survey showed that only 7% of people claim to read the full terms and conditions when buying a product or service and a staggering 20% have reportedly suffered from not doing so.

PayPal’s T&C’s are around 50,000 words long – that’s almost double the length of Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Apple’s iTunes service agreement is 22,000 words, that’s 4,000 words longer than Macbeth. It’s clear to me that nobody can be expected to read these ludicrously long legal documents – not least because there is often a 15 or 20 minute time out on transactions.

Instagram was famously forced to back down after users reacted angrily to terms that suggested uploaded pictures could be sold on to advertisers. But we can’t expect all services or websites to come under the same level of social scrutiny.

Surely there has to be a better way where service providers are forced by law to highlight key points of the agreement we are entering into and complex legal jargon should be strongly discouraged. And shouldn’t we expect to be protected from potentially unfair or surprising terms of service by the state or failing that the EU.

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