Having an online presence is becoming more and more of a necessity. By 2021, it’s projected that 2.14 billion people will buy goods and services online. As a result, today’s innovators developing businesses operating largely online are trying to balance two things: legal risk and user experience.
The temptation of product developers is to prioritize the user experience, which makes sense. However, the danger is you might neglect to think about the legal risks which require terms and conditions to be shared and accepted. This can disrupt the customer journey, and thus can be neglected.
Consider a social media platform like Facebook. When growing their user base, it was crucial for them to develop a quality user experience. At the same time, they had to enter a legally binding agreement with each user signing up for the platform to ensure they would be protected should any issues with users arise. They couldn’t send each new user a PDF of a contract to download, sign, and return. Thus, online contracts were born.
So what can businesses do to mitigate risk without hindering user experience? It starts with the product and legal teams coming together to strike a balance. Here are four key ways businesses can align and find equilibrium.
2. Pay attention to the presentation
Your website should have a solid design and layout that makes the existence of terms obvious to the user, and make it clear that the action they take constitutes acceptance of the terms. Consumers (and the court) generally prefer a clean design and presentation ensuring all agreements are clear and obviously displayed. This can be the difference between an online agreement holding up in court or not.
3. Make signing frictionless
The reality is you will need to execute contracts and agreements with consumers. To create a compelling user experience, make the process of agreeing to a contract as frictionless as possible. Try converting the acceptance of agreements in familiar workflows such as email, chat, or texting. Doing so allows you to get a signed agreement without taking your end-user away from your platform.
4. Collaborate amongst departments
Often IT/tech teams see legal as a roadblock to innovation. However, the reality is legal is there to help protect the good work being done by product teams. Giving legal a seat at the table in important product development meetings will allow for better departmental alignment and the opportunity for legal and IT to work together to execute agreements. As more privacy legislation is passed, the necessity of legal being involved is only going to increase.
As innovators continue to develop products for online business, they will face the challenge of creating a pleasing user experience without increasing legal risk. It is imperative companies find a balance between the two. Without collaboration, this is not going to happen. As long as departments work together, and the right types of agreements are put into place – companies can strike the balance between legal risk and user experience.