Explainers are patterns aimed at ensuring comprehension.
Sometimes people have trouble understanding because a topic is intrinsically difficult: an explainer could reframe it and provide extra details to make it more accessible. Some other times, the topic is not difficult per se, but it is simply not best expressed in prose (e.g. a formula, a process,…), and needs an alternative or complementary visual explanation. In some other cases, understanding is hindered because the reader needs to find and integrate many different pieces of information from different sources – different clauses, sections, or appendices: an explainer gathers all the needed details in the same place, ensuring that no crucial information is missing.
Explainers can help contract crafters with these problems:
- “People don’t understand what the contract means”
- “Some clauses are just intrinsically complex, it is just so difficult to communicate the point simply”
- “People don’t understand what to do, and what their roles and responsibilities are”
- “People miss crucial details”
Explainers can help contract readers with these problems:
- “If I need to do something specific, I need instructions”
- “I need to see all relevant details together to understand. If I have to go hunting details from different sections and appendices, I risk missing something important”
- “If the topic is unfamiliar, I need basic orientation first”
- “As a novice reader, I need extra explanations in context (which an expert wouldn’t need)”
- ”As an expert, I need extra details in context (which would instead confuse a novice)”