What is the one text most people would never deliberately read, even if they were stranded on a deserted island with nothing else to do?
That’s right – some company’s Terms and Conditions.
It’s different with us, here at RockTerms – terms of service and privacy policies have been our daily reading material for years. And we know exactly what’s wrong with it.
Our CEO & Founder Ugis Pilabers has been working as a corporate lawyer for over ten years. Here he shares how he got the idea of revolutionizing how legal documents are written, edited, and read.
Ready to hear his story? Let’s rock and roll!
GDPR as an inspiration
In my work as a corporate lawyer, I have drafted and amended countless terms of service and other legal documents for dozens of IT companies. When the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came in 2018, one clause in particular caught my attention. It said that any information addressed to the public should be “concise, easily accessible and easy to understand.” In addition, it stated that clear and plain language should be used and, where appropriate, visualisation.
Even as a lawyer who’s used to speaking and reading “legalese”, I saw that 99% of legal documents did not comply with this guideline. Literally, any legal paper I had my hands on could be significantly improved in terms of readability and clarity.
I came up with an initiative to include a designer in the process of drafting terms and conditions. I thought that changing the layout of lengthy legal texts and adding visuals would make documents more readable and GDPR compliant.
But the management wasn’t excited about the idea since involving a designer would mean allocating more resources for this task. They didn’t see this approach as a long-term investment that would later reduce costs associated with document editing and translation.
But the more I thought about the idea, the more it made sense to me. Everything really clicked when I started my Mini-MBA studies. I had to choose a business idea to develop and so RockTerms was born.
Why do we need privacy policies that rock?
The modern internet user is accustomed to plain language. Everyone is in a rush, nobody wants to spend too much time reading boring rules.
Meanwhile, the reality is quite different. A study by The New York Times analyzed 150 privacy policies from popular websites and apps and found them to be “an incomprehensible disaster”. Many of them were written in a language that exceeded the literacy standards expected from college graduates.
So how can we even talk about fair and transparent terms that an average teenager could understand? This question is particularly painful if we think about apps that are targeted at teenagers, like TikTok and Snapchat.
The world really needs a revolution in the way privacy policies and terms of service are written and read.
I believe that all privacy policies should be written in such a “no bullsh*t” and “cut to the chase” way. Not only you want to build goodwill and trust in your business and help your customers understand what they are about to sign up for.
Can you save money with clearly written legal docs?
Some companies mistakenly think that clear and readable terms make a difference only for their end-users. Sure, you want customers to trust your business and understand their rights. But here’s how improved terms and privacy policies can also help your business save money:
- Save time on creating and updating documents
Companies often need to change some data in their documents or add new clauses. This can be a lengthy process involving many people since someone has to write the text, design the layout and then insert it in the website’s code. I’ve witnessed situations when updating the terms takes even several months because some of the people involved are too busy or have other priorities.
With RockTerms, you don’t need to bother the designer or the developer because creating, updating and maintaining legal docs on websites is super simple. If we’re talking about a more complex document, marketing and legal reps can work simultaneously in the RockTerms builder avoiding sending revised versions back and forth.
- Sales teams can work more efficiently
Sales teams are often halted by the legal aspects of acquiring new contacts. It’s common that lawyers on both sides want to make changes to enterprise contracts, and this process is made more complicated because of the legal jargon they are using. Lengthy contract drafting process is of course expensive and ineffective.
The solution here is to make the contract templates simple and structured using visualizations and bullet points. This way the sales reps themselves will be able to amend legal details without consulting a lawyer or the management (unless it’s a big change, of course).
Sales reps can just go to the respective section of the RockTerms builder and make the needed edits. Since all RockTerms documents are logically structured and much shorter than regular legal papers, it’s easy for everyone involved to find and amend the necessary details.
- Save up to 50% on translation
After transforming tens of legal documents with RockTerms, I see a clear tendency – by changing the layout and replacing some texts with icons, the total amount of text is reduced by 30-50%.
Which one do you find more readable and comprehensible? And which one do you think would be easier and quicker to translate?
As you can see, transforming the heavy legal texts to icons significantly reduces the length of documents. Therefore RockTerms is a business-wise decision for any company that operates in different countries and wants to bring terms to their audience in their language. And, as your product grows and new languages are added, your team won’t have to put in massive amounts of time managing translations.
Legal documents can be fun
You read that right.
Our Terms of Service are not only clear and concise but also fun to read. Not only do we avoid legal jargon and overcomplicated sentences, but we also use icons – a universal language that often conveys meaning in a much quicker way than words.
And guess what? Even your Terms of Service or Return Policy can speak in your brand’s tone of voice.