Gust Launch

Gust Launch is a software as a service (SaaS) platform that helps early stage startups incorporate their business and generate legally binding agreements. I was tasked with creating a feature called the Founder Intellectual Property (IP) Agreement. The feature needed to generate a legal document that founders sign in order to transfer any intellectual property they have created prior to the company’s formation to the company itself.

UX Design
Content Strategy

My Role

My role was Lead UX Designer on this project. I was tasked with working closely with our engineering and legal teams to create a Founder IP Agreement workflow that utilized our existing styles, patterns, and code, when possible. The goal was to design an elegant, easy to understand experience for the user.

Understanding the legal landscape

In order to design a feature that had legally binding consequences, I needed to ensure that I had a comprehensive understanding of the legal landscape and how this workflow would fit within the rest of the product. I worked very closely with our legal experts to understand the nature of this document.

Structuring the workflow and legal document

There are two approaches we could have taken to transfer IP ownership: an inclusive or exclusive IP transfer. An inclusive approach would require founders to list all of the IP they’d like to transfer, while an exclusive approach would assume any IP related to the business would be included, except for anything explicitly listed as exclusions.

After some research and discussion, we chose to take an exclusive approach to the agreement. Our legal experts indicated that in most use cases the founders would be transferring all IP with the exception of a few small personal projects. We chose this path since it would mean that founders would have to do less work to describe IP and it would cause less room for user error if they were to forget to include any important details.

Explaining legal consequences without intimidating users

Striking the right tone was important. There’s a fine line between communicating the legal and binding nature of the workflow and making users feel unsure about proceeding. Since we did not have the time to do user testing on this project, I was able to shop around the content to coworkers unfamiliar with the project to get some feedback. Based on the volume of users who have completed the workflow and the rare customer service requests regarding it, we believe we were able to achieve a good balance.

Eliminating complex legalese

One of the more strategic decisions I made on this project was to avoid using the phrase “IP Assignment,” which is the way the agreement is referred to in legal terms. This decision was made because “assignment” has so many additional meanings that it might increase the cognitive load for users and make this already abstract contract even further abstracted. Instead I opted to refer to the document as the “Founder IP Agreement” and typically referred to it within the workflow as a “transfer of IP to the company.”

Providing the necessary context for counterparties

Since a counterparty gets an email inviting them to fill out this document on Gust Launch, it was important to do some context setting so the counterparty would understand and feel comfortable providing information and signing the legal document online.

Anticipating FAQ at all points in the workflow

In order to build a relationship of trust with users, it was important to provide them with the right information when they needed it. This meant writing and placing FAQ at strategic points in the experience. We also were able measure the success of this through the inconsequential number of customer support requests we received regarding this workflow.

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