Be Understandable

Legal information abounds on the Internet - and in intranets and extranets. Many web sites need a page about privacy policies. Many include terms of use. And some sites focus on legal issues and legal documents. Letting go of the words and writing in plain language are as applicable to legal information as to other web content.

Information can be legally accurate, legally sufficient, and also clear. In fact, these attributes support each other, and many sites now strive to write their legal pages in clear, simple language.

The typical problems in legal information online can be solved without compromising the legal standing of the information. These problems include:

• text in a small, scrollable box in small type that can't be enlarged

• no printer-friendly option; printing cuts off the right side of the page

• headings that use technical computer terms, not site visitors' language

• technical language, when clearer statements are possible

• unnecessary, archaic legal language

• lots of the writing problems that we saw in Chapter 8

Ironically, some web sites have poor headings followed by good writing in their legal information while others have good headings followed by poor writing. Let's put the good headings and good writing together to have legal information that works for both your site visitors and your organization's lawyers.

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