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The management in my company has determined that we need a more explicit method to ensure that users read and acknowledge the terms & conditions. Their current proposal is to require users to download a PDF containing the terms and conditions. Only after downloading the PDF, the checkbox for "I've read and accept the terms..." will be enabled, allowing users to check it and proceed. As a designer, I strongly believe that this approach is highly flawed. Users are accustomed to simply checking a checkbox (which includes a link to the terms) and proceeding. Disabling the checkbox and introducing a PDF download will create unnecessary friction during the registration process. Additionally, it seems inappropriate to compel users to download a file, especially considering that our software is chosen for its cloud-based functionality.

What are your thoughts and opinions and if you agree with me how can i convince them to drop this idea?

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    Let people just click the checkbox without downloading the PDF. It is for their own responsibility. If there are some important things the user needs to know beforehand, it should be made clear and easy to understand on the page itself, not in some document that is difficult to read. But maybe this is more a legal issue than UX so I might not be in the position to give a proper answer.
    – jazZRo
    Commented May 23, 2023 at 11:45

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I wouldn't recommend this by any means. It's the complete opposite of what they are trying to achieve. (The user downloads it, it goes to the user's device, and that's it. How do they know if the user took the time to read it?)

I would recommend something I saw in Apple's terms and conditions: make the terms and conditions scrollable, and disable the button until the user reaches the end of the document. I can't recall if it was Apple specifically, but I've come across this approach a couple of times. Using the same scrolling logic, but with a timed element, could be effective as well. For example, if the user scrolls too quickly to the button, they would receive a message like "Please read carefully," prompting them to start again and scroll at an appropriate pace that would indicate they've read the terms. If stakeholders genuinely require the terms and conditions to be approved, such as for legal reasons, this could be a very good solution.

Finally, here's an idea that I'm just thinking of and haven't seen before, so take it with a grain of salt: you could incorporate some required actions, such as checkboxes, as interstitial elements. For instance, you could include a checkbox with the description "Do you agree to the items above?" and teh label YES, I agree and activate the submit button only if all checkboxes are checked.

While this approach might be somewhat annoying, if there is a strong need for the terms and conditions to be read, it can reasonably assume that the user has gone through everything.

The idea above is somehow related with some contracts where they ask you to enter something like your name and/or ID , so guess it's not that far-fetched (although mine is more annoying)

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