Timelines represent time or duration, a series of steps or processes taking place within a given timeframe, or a sequence of events.
It is not always practical to use words only to describe key events or their sequence; for example, it may not be clear how long prices or terms remain valid or when a contract expires, if and when notice needs to be given, etc
Timelines are useful for clauses that specify duration (such as contract term or a notice or warranty period), list milestones, to-do’s, or deadlines (e.g., delivery, payment, or reporting schedules), or describe steps, tasks, or processes (for example, to give notice to terminate the agreement, make a claim, or perform an audit).
Timelines help explain processes by illustrating the steps that need to be taken, when, and in what order. Presenting actions, requirements, or deadlines in chronological order makes sense to readers, as it mirrors their lived experience: they can see at a glance what will or is expected to happen in the future, and what course of action they need to take. It can also be used to show dependencies or preconditions, for example, which party is expected to perform first.
© 2019 Stefania Passera, Helena Haapio, and IACCM
The timeline illustrates how a client can subscribe to and pay for the service, and cancel the subscription. It makes the whole process more transparent, clear and predictable from the reader's perspective.
© 2018 Buzzsumo Ltd. Used with permission.
Designer: Stefania Passera
The timeline clarifies the steps of a product acceptance process and the consequences for the supplier if the product is defective and the client rejects it.
© 2016 Stefania Passera. Used with permission.
A timeline is used to show the consequences of late delivery.
© 2018 Royal Dutch Shell plc. Used with permission.
Designer: Rob Waller
In this example, parallel timelines are used to explain the allocation of background and foreground IP rights in a co-creation case.
© 2019 Deepika Jeyakodi, Mirjam E. Ros, and BIS Publishers. Used with Permission.
Designer: Rachel Ericson-Carmiggelt
Have you used timelines in your contracts? You can contribute to the Library by sharing an example.
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