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This article was published on February 17, 2020

Why designers should be involved in the law-making process

Why designers should be involved in the law-making process

Lawmakers are disconnected from the innovation scene

Take a look at the congressional hearing of both Facebook and Google: we can notice the disconnection between the lawmakers and new technology. It is not surprising because most of them are the older generation which is statistically not the target market of any of those technologies nor they belong to “Innovator,” “Early adopter,” or “Early Majority.” (Please see Law of Diffusion of innovation). Without extensive research, it would be difficult for these people to arm with the right knowledge and perspective to speak in congress on behalf of the people (user).

Legacy law-making process as the major issue

Most countries are still using a law-making system established decades ago, that is multi-layered and lengthy in process. As a result, it is time-consuming, prone to cognitive bias and inconclusive to a wider perspective. While we have seen digital transformation happening across industries, little do we see that happens in this area.

  1. General users and businesses are not protected in the unregulated market. (i.e. privacy, physical safety, fraud)
  2. Not having the right perspective in regulation-making may not fulfill end-users’ needs.
Designer as facilitator

Emerging Trend: Designers as facilitators of law and regulation-making

Recently, Amazon as a subject matter expert is working to propose a set of regulations to federal regulators regarding the use of facial recognition. Another tech giant, Google, also proposes tighter industry standards around data collected for digital ads. Shortly, it is expected to see more involvement from an industry expert to get involved in regulation-making.

Case Study: AGL — Australia Energy Bill Design

Australian states have recently changed regulations over what to display in energy bills recently. It is now mandatory to highlight

  1. The rate
  2. If the customer is on the “best plan” (based on rate)
  3. The best plan if the customer is not already on it
  1. Relevant information that suits the existing mental model may not be available at first glance
  2. The government’s decision might drive the industry toward a discount oriented model. The importance of other competitive advantages might get diluted i.e. service quality and innovation

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