September 3, 2016 Serena

Beautiful law

This is an extract from a piece I published on Legal Futures some time ago. It’s about Legal Design. 

Recently it dawned on me that I should pay taxes in the UK and I wanted to know how to do it. So I went straight to the legislation.gov.uk portal and looked up to the Income Act 2007. Hey, I studied law.

After one hour, it was me yawning, endlessly wandering among the titles of the Income Act, a nightmare of 1,035 sections.

What rules apply to me? Where should I click? More reading, more yawning.

I realised that there’s a stripped-back version of instructions on gov.uk on how to deal with your income taxes and I spent the rest of my time there. It’s a much better user experience. They tell you exactly what to do, with a tenth of the words, and the design is neat.

I mean, the legislation.gov.uk website is great too – they designed it after a brilliant research on user needs. The only thing which remains bad is the very final product: the law. Lawyers made it.

Why couldn’t law be designed by designers as well? Designers, humans being who love beauty and keep users in mind. All the time. Well, most of the time.

Designers to the rescue

It seems we’re getting there. When faced with the inner ugliness of the laws, some designers decided to put design methods to use. With a bold intent: make the existing laws simpler, user friendly and beautiful.

And they invented that thing that we’ll be calling legal design from now on.

Continue reading on Legal Futures…

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