Since ages the Software Licence Agreement is one thing which 99% of users never read. The reason for this is because it's hundreds of lines and written in a vague manner.

In case it can be provided in an interactive way like,


download bmml source – Wireframes created with Balsamiq Mockups

Approach is to make the users know about the conditions imposed in the agreement which the users skip.

The gist of the each rule section can be provided as a checkbox which the user has to check for the install button to be enabled. (Thereby he/she understands the rules of agreement to some extent).

"more..." link can be given which opens another window which in turn provides the detailed information for that particular gist.

Is this approach okay or is it against any rules of Software Licence Agreement?

  • 3
    Your final question "is this ok" is a legal question, not one of UX.
    – Bowen
    Apr 7, 2015 at 1:31
  • I think it is a very interesting concept to explore. What's the reason behind this and are you making some progress at the moment?
    – Michael Lai
    Apr 23, 2015 at 22:35
  • If the question is "Is the lack of interaction design in SLA a barrier to helping users to understand the information?" Then I think it might create some interesting feedback and discussion.
    – Michael Lai
    Apr 23, 2015 at 22:37
  • Hi Mike. Thanks. No actually this right came to me when installing some software. You can edit the question. Apr 24, 2015 at 0:09
  • 1
    From a UX POV, I'm not sure going from one checkbox to a dozen is an improvement. However, the idea of bullet-pointing the actual agreement is a good idea.
    – DA01
    Jul 23, 2015 at 15:42

3 Answers 3


The legal department typically sucks at writing content in a way that humans can relate to.

There are plenty (though not nearly enough) human-readable licenses and TOSes out there. That's the true fix: Make it simpler and easier to read in the first place.

A nice visual to explain this is the web site 500px's TOS page: https://500px.com/terms

On the left is the text that came from the legal department. On the right is the text that we mere mortals can comprehend.

Your idea is essentially this...the right column.

I think you are on the right path, but there's no need for the multiple checkboxes, IMHO. Thats just adding more hurdles the user has to jump through.

To answer the specific question in the title:

Is the lack of interactive design in SLA a barrier to helping users to understand the information?

I'd say, no, it's an issue of lack of human-readable copywriting--not due to a lack of interaction design.


This approach is good to go as long as all of the contract is available for reading. A simple linked checkbox that say “I agree to XYZ” is sufficient, so this would be a more robust extension and therefore above sufficient.

I believe the better question might be ”why is this a problem?” SLA’s didn’t become this way over night; Users want to get to the value of the product and they understand enough about the common agreements to get there.

If you need to call something out, it’s better to do so after the user has agreed. You can present informative notices about what they’ve agreed to with the ability to opt-out of specific features when disagreeable.


Ultimately the question the user is answering by accepting the terms is "Do you want to use this software (that you've already purchased/downloaded/etc)?", which explains why the vast majority of users don't read the details and just click "Accept"; not accepting the terms equals terminating a process they've nearly completed. I would argue improving the readability of the terms does little to fix this binary "Use/Do Not Use" scenario when the user has already likely decided they want to use the software.

Jeff Sauro of MeasuringU addresses this phenomenon well in his post "Do Users Read License Agreements?" One key point related to your question is the fact that by the time a user is presented with a EULA or SLA, they already have too much invested in the process to really consider NOT accepting the terms.

One possible approach is to offer up the terms PRIOR to the user purchasing/downloading/etc the software, when they have less to lose and are in a position to negotiate or even cancel the process.

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