How could computable contracts improve people’s health insurance contracting? by Nora al-Haider, Luz Daniel, Shobha Dasari, Margaret Hagan, Arianne Marcellin-Little, Alistair Murray, Michael Perlmutter, Roland Vogl, and Annie Zhu This piece was originally published at our Legal Design & Innovation medium publication. In Winter 2022, our team at the Legal Design Lab worked with our … Read moreImproving the Design of Insurance Contracts
Here’s a report from the OECD on how to leverage behavioral insights for better complex communication design. A short summary: Governments should be wary of exacerbating information overload when setting mandatory information requirements for businesses. Governments should also bear in mind the importance of form and context in developing such requirements. In particular, governments … Read moreBehavioral insights for online TOS, disclosures, and policies
A 2018 piece describes some new strategies, using usability-oriented design, to present privacy policies in better ways. Its basic design pattern is a summary table, with icons and some call-out boxes (along with a trust seal) to present the policy in a brief overview with a link to a fuller policy. It is important for … Read moreHow to Make Privacy Policies both GDPR-Compliant and Usable by Karen Renaud and Lynsay Shephered
The Simplification Centre has a group of volunteer designers who do ‘Simple Actions’ to rehabilitate an orphaned, poorly designed piece of information. Their reports document the case studies of these projects and proposed redesigns. This one is about improving people’s ability to deal with an overdose situation and administer lifesaving medicine.
The design group Civilla, in Michigan, has a new legal/government benefits document design, under the banner Project Re:form, Dismantling the longest Public Benefits application in America. They used a service/document design process to create a new application form for public benefits in Michigan. You can see the new form and information booklet here, on Michigan’s website. … Read moreNew benefits application from Project Re:form of Civilla
The Center for American Progress has a policy-tracking/visualization too, Law of the Land Project. It offers an interesting way to show various policies, cases and decisions. The functionality: you can filter the various cases by issue area or legal area. Then the sets of main cases that are tagged with this filter are shown. In addition, they … Read moreLaw of the Land policy tracker
This visualization web app from the Urban Institute has a very interesting, complicated design to show people what their state budget is spent on. It takes an open data + data viz approach to try to make the data more approachable. It also has a walkthrough of prep/education before it shows the visitor the full … Read moreVisualization of state spending and policy
Another article documenting new ways to improve people’s financial decision-making, from Junius Gunaratne, Jeremy Burke, and Oded Nov of NYU and the RAND Corporation: this one “Empowering Investors with Social Annotation When Saving for Retirement.” It profiles one new way to communicate difficult information: digital sticky notes next to the fine print, that give ‘social … Read moreEmpowering Investors with Social Annotation When Saving for Retirement by Junius Gunaratne, Jeremy Burke, and Oded Nov
Another interesting academic study of new interventions to increase understanding: from New York University professors Junius Gunaratne and Oded Nov, “Using Interactive “Nutrition Labels” for Financial Products to Assist Decision Making Under Uncertainty”, published in Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology 68(8):1836–1849, 2017. The abstract: Product information labels can help users understand complex … Read moreUsing Interactive “Nutrition Labels” for Financial Products, by Junius Gunaratne and Oded Nov
Google has a Security Checkup that alerts users, while they are going about use of other applications, to spend time to review access permissions, device logins, and possible threats. It is not about understanding the policy itself so much as managing devices and applications, to cut back on what Google rates as risky behavior. It is a … Read moreGoogle’s Security Checkup intervention
Irene Pollach has a short article from September 2007, Communications of the ACM, that analyzes how privacy policies fail to build credibility, trust, and good behavior. Pollach identifies failures in: – what the companies actually say, disclose, and describe in the policies, and – how the companies present this information through their communication style. She … Read moreWhat’s Wrong with Online Privacy Policies? a linguistic analysis of dark patterns by Irene Pollach
UX Magazine has a piece by Ilana Westerman, Making Online Privacy Make Sense, that discusses how a better privacy design can build a bond between an organization and a person. Westerman highlights that legal terms around privacy are intangible, hard to grasp, and are often not valued until they are violated or lost. People don’t … Read moreMaking Online Privacy Make Sense by Ilana Westerman
In the past year, our Legal Design Lab has presented our findings on our disclosure design sessions to the Department of Labor and the Securities and Exchange Commission. We have used this visual report to summarize our key findings from preliminary interviews, focus groups, design sessions, and user testing.
Here is a page of my notebook from the class I’m teaching this quarter at Stanford, on Business-to-Consumer contract redesign. These are some of the ways that we can play with how to improve policy communications to make them more approachable and comprehensible. It’s not exhaustive, but a first pass!
Google offers its users the ability to see their own search history — what Google is storing of their data and queries. The company gives each person the ability to log in and see what Google sees. Along with this info transparency, there is also the ability to then turn off and purge (but is … Read moreGoogle Privacy control dashboard
Natasha Lomas & Romain Dillet wrote a small diatribe against the culture of Terms and Conditions legalese and fine print that currently pervades online business-to-consumer contracts. The main indictments: They are written to be unreadable They have not been written for the digital environment, they’ve just been taken from the offline standard & pasted onto … Read moreTerms And Conditions Are The Biggest Lie Of Our Industry, an article from TechCrunch
The project Terminos y Condiciones from Mallorca Spain is experimenting with new ways to help people stay on top of the terms and conditions they agree to when they use products online & elsewhere. They’ve built a tool that lets you keep track of any changes in companies’ policies. Here’s an article from TechCrunch that … Read moreTerms & Conditions Change-Tracker
On his blog “the [non]billable hour”, legal consultant Matt Homann challenged law firms to design a more readable, engaging, client-centered bill for legal services. If your clients designed your bills, what would they look like? Would they be easier to understand? Contain useful case status information? How about upcoming dates or milestones? Would your bills include information about the … Read moreLegal Bill design, how to show what lawyers do and how much it costs
The New York Times has begun a series of investigative pieces and media clips on the dangers of what is buried in legal fine print in business-to-consumer contracts. There is one on the prevalence of arbitration clauses and the effects they have on people’s constitutional rights to jury trials, and ability to hold corporations accountable. … Read moreBeware the Fine Print: NYTimes investigations into arbitration clauses