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Terms of Serve-Us


The way we have interacted with technology has changed dramatically over the past 20 years. What has NOT changed; however, is the manner in which we engage with the Terms of Service. We’re all guilty of skipping the text to click “Agree” more quickly. However, this is problematic as the ToS functions similarly to a legally binding agreement. This in combination with recent ToS abuses by companies stresses the necessity to help people feel empowered and in control of their actions in the digital space. 

How might we increase user awareness of Terms of Service Agreements? 


Our team designed Terms of Serve-Us, a mobile app that tracks user’s real-time app usage and responds with notifications containing information from the ToS agreement relevant to the action being taken. Our design revolutionizes the way users engage with the ToS by changing it from what was previously a static, ineffective process to one that engages with and supports the user’s traditional manner of operating on their mobile device. 


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Can't find the ToS you're looking for in our database? Click "Add a ToS" to submit a document for review by our legal team. 

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Manage the frequency with which you receive notifications about specific apps and topics.

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Get real-time, easy-to-understand updates about how your actions fit in with the app's legally-binding ToS. 

(Instagram pictured as an example). 


Research & User Insights

From our secondary research, user interviews, and survey, our team learned more about people's feelings and frustrations towards Terms of Service Agreements. We affinity diagrammed the insights from each research method. 

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Affinity diagram above shows the most common words our participants associated with the "Terms of Service." Words such as "tedious," "tiring," and "confusing" frequently popped up. 

Summary of Research & User Insights

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Affinity diagram above organizes participants' motivators and blockers for reading the Terms of Service. 

From our secondary research, we learned several companies have faced backlash over unannounced ToS revisions such as:

  • Stealing ownership rights of user-uploaded content

  • Nebulous language that confuses the reader

  • Changes regarding subscription policy​​


From our surveys and interviews, we learned: ​

  • People are motivated to read the ToS when they know how it directly impacts finances or privacy

  • People are deterred from reading the ToS based on vocabulary, length, and format used

  • 6/13 participants engage in social loafing; the justification of skimming and or skipping the ToS due to an abstract trust that companies with larger user bases will have greater rates of whistleblowing for violations 

Competitive Analysis

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Pictured above: Competitive analysis of 7 services: ToS; DR, Clickwrapped, TLDRLegal, ToS Back, Smart ToC, App Sotre Privacy Info, Apple In-App Pop-ups. 

Our competitive analysis revealed two key insights:

  • We had 0 direct competitors in the mobile app field

  • All existing competitors only provide summary in a static place (would take effort on the user’s part to look up the information they needed outside of their app). 


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  • Solve users’ struggle to read ToS due to its lengthiness and jargon. 


  •  Extension delivers pop-ups of summarized ToS content relevant to the user’s current action. In the final panel, the user is about to post a photo when a pop-up appears addressing the relevance of the user’s action to the ToS. The user is better able to understand the ToS and makes an informed decision to post!


Contribute Button Content Strategy


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Lo-Fi: "Contribute" is confusing

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changed name 

Hi-fi: "Add a ToS" is clear

  • "Contribute" as a button name lacks direction: most users struggled to associate the word "Contribute" with the act of submitting a ToS for review —> takeaway: change name/prompt

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lacks direction

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made button more specific

added prompt

​Our results showed us “Add a ToS” was the most straightforward prompt for those trying to submit materials to the app, so we incorporated this change into our hi-fi iteration by renaming the form, adding a form prompt (see above), and editing the button names for clarity.

Unnecessary Buttons

  • Unnecessary Buttons on IG notification flow​

unnecessary button
(convention is swipe up to dismiss)

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added button to manage frequency

  • Most users swipe up to dismiss notifications. Takeaway: Our dismiss button = unnecessary. 

  • Participants also wanted to adjust the frequency with which they receive notifications as they received them. Takeaway: add option “Don’t Show Again” on the notification to ease the user’s flexibility and efficiency of use. 


Through this project I familiarized myself more with the design thinking process as well as with tools such as Figma and Miro. 

Some design takeaways I learned from this project are: 


  •  reinvent the wheel in terms of gestures!


  • Several rounds of user testing

  • Remain mindful of the language used in your directions! 

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