Legal design is a multidisciplinary approach that combines law, design, technology, psychology, and other fields to reimagine the way legal information is presented and accessed, ultimately making the law more inclusive and understandable for everyone.
Legal design recognises that traditional legal materials can be complex, confusing, and inaccessible to many people, leading to barriers in accessing justice and understanding legal rights and obligations.
Legal design can be applied to various legal contexts, such as contracts, regulations, court forms, legal websites, and legal education materials. It aims to bridge the gap between the legal system and its users, promoting transparency, empowerment, and better outcomes for individuals navigating legal processes.
When laying out a contract with legal design principles in mind, the goal is to create a document that is visually appealing (https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2630609), easily navigable, and understandable to its intended audience. Here are some tips that in Trakti are considered:
- Simplify language and sentence structure: use plain language to make the contract more understandable. Avoid legal jargon and complex sentence structures. Instead, strive for clear, concise, and user-friendly language.
- Use clear headings and subheadings: divide the contract into sections and subsections with descriptive headings. This helps readers quickly locate relevant information and understand the structure of the document.
- Utilise typography effectively: choose legible fonts and font sizes that are easy to read. Consider using different font styles (such as bold or italics) to emphasize important terms or provisions.
- Highlight key information: use visual cues (such as colour, bolding, or underlining) to draw attention to critical provisions or obligations within the contract. This helps users focus on essential elements.
- Provide explanations and definitions: include explanations or definitions of legal terms and concepts within the contract. This helps readers who may not have a legal background understand the content more easily.
- Consider a visual summary or table of contents: include a visual summary or a table of contents at the beginning of the contract to provide an overview of its structure and help users locate specific sections quickly.
- Incorporate visual elements: use icons, symbols, or infographics to convey key concepts or actions. Visual aids can help break down complex information and make it more accessible.
Remember, the specific design choices will depend on the nature of the contract and its intended audience. The primary objective is to make the contract visually appealing, accessible, and user-friendly, while still ensuring the legal language and integrity of the document are maintained.
Legal design improves the user experience (UX) by focusing on the needs, expectations, and capabilities of the users interacting with legal systems, documents, and processes. Here’s how legal design enhances UX:
- Empowerment and transparency: legal design aims to empower users by providing them with the information and tools they need to navigate legal systems effectively. By promoting transparency and user-friendly interfaces, legal design helps users understand their rights, obligations, and available options, enhancing their overall experience and sense of control;
- User-friendly language: legal design promotes the use of plain language, which simplifies complex legal concepts and replaces legal jargon with clear and understandable terms. This reduces cognitive load, enhances comprehension, and improves the overall user experience;
- Visual representation: legal design incorporates visual elements, such as icons, diagrams, and infographics, to present information in a more visually appealing and engaging manner. Visual aids help users grasp complex legal concepts quickly and can enhance the overall UX by making the content more digestible and memorable.
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