March 28, 2013
Editorially is a new writing and editing platform, centered on words and people. Their intention is to make the web an unique place for reading and writing, so they make tools to encourage the writing process – from the very first word that crosses one’s mind all the way to publication, offering support if any hurdles occur.
The team of professionals behind Editorially enjoys quality things and major changes for the better; they carefully distilled their knowledge about writing and editing and built awesome tools to make writing a much more enjoyable experience.
However, their appetite for things for the better does not limit to that; they recently published their new Terms of Service version, providing their users an improved experience while using their writing ecosystem. Lucky for us, they also published crumbs of their strategy of improvement which truly reflect their standards.
Like most companies, Editorially also dealt with the issue of impenetrable, legal language; as they appreciate good design, good typography and understable language, they wanted to improve their Terms of Service, while still meeting their legal obligations.
They admit is quite difficult to make a legal agreement readable and at the same time, to provide their users protection offered by legal nuances. Their suggestion is to try to translate, as much as possible, legal paragraphs into language you usually use to address a friend or a colleague.
In addition, consider your legal agreements as ongoing processes, don’t just build some that are meant to last forever. Regulations or priorities may change, so be flexible and accept you need to check your legal statements from time to time and adjust them according to current matters.
Moreover, examples are very useful. No matter how hard you try to explain ideas written in legal language, some of them will still be difficult to understand. This when you should use examples to make things clear. Nothing should be ambiguous about your Terms of Service.
Editorially also suggests to avoid “cute” language and jokes; they claim legal documents should have a formal tone because they are a serious matter. The issue with cute language is that people won’t take things seriously and your task is to provide as much support as needed to make things clear from the word go so don’t confuse them with jokes.