I'm developing a Sign Up page for an online service I provide. And I'm at a point where I need to decide if I'm going to have a checkbox for the user to check to make clear that the user agrees with my terms of service. Or that I just put some text below the Sign Up button that says something along the line of:

By clicking Sign Up, you agree to our Terms and that you have read our Privacy Policy

That's how Facebook and Yahoo! do it, and it creates one less step for the user to sign up.

I would like to hear what you'd rather prefer, or what would be better.

  • This is more of a legal issue really. From a UX point of view not having to click a checkbox is preferable to having to do so, but that option isn't presented there for the users benefit, purely to fulfill legal obligations. What do the legal team there need to happen?
    – JonW
    Apr 11, 2014 at 11:00
  • @JonW I disagree. From a UX point of view there are some things the user needs to explicitly agree to, and be cognizant of while doing so. Otherwise this happens: static.fjcdn.com/pictures/Humancentipad_6fa9a8_2100794.jpg
    – Pdxd
    Apr 11, 2014 at 13:22
  • @Pdxd: No, that's dark patterns that you're referring to. Tricking people into making decisions. Good UX is not even making that a possibility in the first place.
    – JonW
    Apr 11, 2014 at 13:43
  • @JonW It's not about tricking people. It's about providing active awareness. When you receive a contract, do you read before signing or just sign right away? upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/e/e0/Bart_Sells_His_Soul.png
    – Pdxd
    Apr 11, 2014 at 13:53
  • @JonW Actually, it shouldn't be a chore to read legal. abcnews.go.com/WN/obama-signs-law-understand/story?id=11902841
    – Pdxd
    Apr 11, 2014 at 13:56

1 Answer 1


In most cases I agree that it is the better option to minimize the number of steps or actions the user needs to go through. Accepting a ToS is a different thing in my opinion. Even though most people probably doesn't read the ToS anyway I would consider it too important to "hide" the action. Unless you make the text below the Sign Up button VERY visible I think most people would find themselves clicking the Sign Up button without noticing that text.

In terms of supporting people guarding their privacy I think it is very important to give them a choice that they cannot overlook.


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