Legal or design stuff?

When it comes to legal terms, I was thinking that it is just lawyers business to create terms of conditions to protect my app. I was so wrong…

What changed my understanding is realizing that as a product owner you are the best person who knows “what to protect”. Every feature you add to your app or every decision you take for the framework of your business is subject to terms of conditions- namely the agreement between the user of the app and you.  

In my business model, women who don’t have time use the beauty-on-demand app to request beauty services wherever they are. Even in this simple description of the business, there are 3 legal issues appearing:

  1. What if the customer pays online for the freelancer and make an appointment and then doesn’t appear at appointment time?
  2. What if service is taken but the service provided was not satisfactory?
  3. Are mobile freelancers allowed to give beauty services in any place?

This thinking about legal issues did help me to determine design constraints of my app. Is myglamtime just a marketplace bringing the users together with freelancers or do we have responsibility on legal issues like security?

To answer these questions I have researched terms of use documents of similar apps. Stylisted is working with a very similar business model to ours.

After reading the Privacy Policy, Terms of Use and Client Terms of Service of Stylisted  I can see that they position themselves in a not-responsibility-taking edge. I think this approach affects whole user experience. If I am going to overtake the same approach, I think then I am responsible for giving very detailed information about freelancers throughout the site so that users can choose the best for themselves.

In addition to that if I am excluding myglamtime from any responsibility, then I have to write Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Client Terms of Service in a very user-friendly way. Stylisted has written some of the parts of these documents with capital letters which look like they are yelling to the user. However, to make the users buy-in your not responsibility taking the approach it should be easy to read and understand the policies in a very friendly way. I think a very good example is Homestarts Terms of Use. After each clause or paragraph they are rephrasing very shortly, what is this clause saying.

A feature of Stylisted that I like is that they encourage users to contact them as a starting point of a dispute. I am going to make this point not just in Terms of Use but also as small tip throughout the site.

Going back to the third question, if freelancers can give any service in every place landed me to the government site for passing and licensing. This thinking about licensing is not just for governmental bodies important but also for the customers. According to this site, there are courses available for protection from infections. I can make this course obligatory for the freelancers who want to work with us. At the service spot, freelancers can place a visual of this certificate as an offline user experience improvement. This certificate can help for trust building and professionalism and so decrease in possible disputes between user and freelancer.   

According to online Terms of Use, I think the most critical part is the privacy. To make an appointment we are going to collect personal information of the users. I think we have to explicitly tell the customer for what this information is collected. I think for example if there is a box where the user has to fill in the address or the telephone number, we can put a message where the user has to put information that the phone number is going to be used, to send a confirmation of the appointment and maybe give the option to opt out.

To sum up, I think design constraints of my product and legal stuff is tightly connected. As a product owner, you are the best one to know what to protect and also according to legal issues you are going to change your product design.




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