Apply all the clear writing techniques to your legal information

You can use personal pronouns in legal information. (Consider the agreements you sign for credit cards, cell phones, cable service, insurance, and so on. Almost all of them use "we" and "you.")

ffifi In the process of or following consultation of this web site, data Vfy pertaining to identified or identifiable persons may be processed.

©When you use this web site, we may collect data about you or people you tell us about - for example, people to whom you are sending a gift. We may use that data to . . .

You can write legal information with short, active sentences; with lists; and with tables. You can break legal information into short pieces, and each piece can still be a viable legal policy. You can give examples in legal information, as you see in the International Herald Tribune's definition of cookies (Figure Interlude 2-5).

Many site visitors do not 1 ^J know what a "cookie" is. A definition helps.

(A cookie is a small piece of information that our web servers send to your browser and that is stored on your computer. That smaTpieceof information allows our computers to say, "Aha. We have seen this person before," and it also allows our computers to remember things about your past interaction with the site, like, "This-

person told us that they like to see the weather in Celsius, not Fahrenheit.")

Words like "web servers" and "browser" are technical language

Many people who come through AOL, for example, don't think of it as a browser. The next sentence refers to "our computers," so the first sentence might say ". . . that our computers send to your computers . . ."

The examples are clear

The exampl (^and friendly.

Figure Interlude 2-5 You can put examples in legal information.

Case Study Interlude 2-1 Putting it all together with an example that is both legal and clear: Privacy policies

In this case study, I use all the points in the interlude to draft basic privacy policies for a web site. You may need to modify the information in these paragraphs for your web site. You may need to add other paragraphs to cover situations that are special to your site. If you do, try to write in this same style - friendly, personal, clear, and also legal. And remember to use these same principles - and all the other guidelines in this book - for terms of use and all other legal information on your web site.

Our Privacy Policy

Updated: [date]

Does [...1 collect personal information about me? What does [. ..1 do with my personal information? Does f.-.l share my information? Does [...1 store information on mv computer? ("cookies") Does [...1 collect information about children under 13? What if I, have other questions?

Does [..,] collect personal information about me?

if you are just browsing our web site, we do not collect any personal information about you.

We may ask you for and collect personal information, such as your name, email address, postal address, phone number, and possibly credit card information, when you

• order something on our web site, by phone, or in one of our stores

• open an account with us

• subscribe to an email newsletter

• participate in a survey, contest, or other event if you buy from us, we may also keep records of your purchases so that you can track your orders and so that we can serve you better by tailoring information for you.

What does [.„1 do with my personal information?

We use personal information related to an order to process the order. We may contact you by email, phone, or postal address to confirm the order or if we have questions.

We may also use your personal information and information about your product interests to send you emails about products and promotions or to ask you questions about your preferences If you do not want us to send you these emails, contact us.

We never tell anyone your email address or phone number. We may share your postal mailing information and your product interests with other carefully selected companies whose products may interest you. If you do not want us to share information about you. contact us.


Does [...] store information on my computer? ("cookies")

To recognize you as a returning customer and to show you information the way you want it, our computers put a small piece of information on your computer. This is called a "cookie"

A cookie tells us about your computer and lets our computers remember what you are currently doing or did in the past at our web site. For example, a cookie lets us track your shopping cart while you are on our web site.

A cookie does not give us any of your personal information, such as your name or email address.

Cookies also help us understand how people use our web site They help us know which sections of the site are most popular and how people look for information on our site. We use this Information to improve our web site and to serve you better

Does [„.] collect information about children under 13?

We never knowingly sell to or collect any personal information from children under 13. If you believe your child has given us personal information, please help us remove that Information from our computers by contacting us.

What if I have other questions?

Please contact us. We are happy to answer your questions, [contact Information]

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Using ^



In previous chapters, we've talked about making information visual just by arranging the text: short paragraphs, short sentences, lists, tables, headings, and a judicious use of space. Illustrations (photos, drawings, charts, graphs, maps, and so on) are also an important part of your web content.

As with all web content, in planning illustrations, you must think about your purposes, your audiences, and why people come to your site. The first questions to ask as you plan for illustrations are:

• What do I want to achieve by having an illustration here?

• What type of illustration is appropriate to achieve that purpose?

Indeed, as you go through your web content, ask yourself:

• Am I drawing a picture in my head as I read this?

• Is this difficult to explain in words?

If so, an illustration may be appropriate to explain or expand or enhance or replace your other web content.

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