Icons on the contract

What

Use simple graphic icons to represent key sections and terms in the text, that tend to be standard across contracts and other interactions between the parties. The icons do not replace text, but accompany it and make it clearer to navigate and comprehend the document.

When

The contract refers to categories of information or terms that are often seen in other contracts, documents, and experiences by the target users.

Why

Icons give visual markers to the reader that help them quickly understand what the text accompanying the icon refers to, orienting them before they read it. Icons also act as flags in the document, helping the user to quickly jump to a section that they are most interested in. They enhance comprehension by offering glance-able meaning, as a first layer of understanding before the user digs into the text to understand the full meaning.

How

If existing icons are used in similar contracts and documents, borrow these icons and use them in in your document. This will increase the legibility of the visuals to the user, who can draw on previous connotations to make sense of them. If no common icons are defined for the categories of information you would like to represent, you can draw from the vast icon library available at The Noun Project, tagged with relevant terms, or you can create your own icons using a vector image program like Adobe Illustrator.

Examples

 
From the EU Directive on Consumer Rights, for business-to-consumer transactions and contracting — they propose an optional iconography scheme to impose standardization and visual cues for improved consumer comprehension of terms and details of their contract with the business.

EU - standard icons for consumer facing purchase contracts - Screen Shot 2016-01-08 at 3.36.20 PM

EU - standard icons for consumer facing purchase contracts - Screen Shot 2016-01-08 at 3.36.42 PM

EU - standard icons for consumer facing purchase contracts - Screen Shot 2016-01-08 at 3.36.56 PM

EU - standard icons for consumer facing purchase contracts - Screen Shot 2016-01-08 at 3.37.09 PM

EU - standard icons for consumer facing purchase contracts - Screen Shot 2016-01-08 at 3.37.20 PM

EU - standard icons for consumer facing purchase contracts - Screen Shot 2016-01-08 at 3.37.29 PM

EU - standard icons for consumer facing purchase contracts - Screen Shot 2016-01-08 at 3.37.38 PM

 

 

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