Why Use Information Design?

Why Use Information Design?

In a previous post, we started discussing how businesses can use information design concepts in contracts. I’d like to share some more reasoning as to why our clients and small and medium sized businesses should start considering the use of information design principles in order to foster transparency with your clients.

Let’s face it: you are acting as an expert in the work you do for your customers. From auto mechanics to website design to medical services, whatever your business may be, you are in the position of expert in that area. With that expertise often comes an imbalance in the provision of services or the power of the contracting parties. In theory, parties to a contract have equal power. Courts tend to maintain that fiction. But in reality, there is often a great difference in the bargaining power between parties, such as between landlord and tenant. A well-designed contract that fosters transparency helps alleviate some of that power imbalance, or at least renders in less prevalent.  

Information design can alleviate some of that imbalance by providing clear, understandable contract language. Using information design principles in a contract allows the party that would be seen to have more power in the relationship to foster and strengthen the relationship through mutual understanding.

I really like the landlord-tenant example because the landlord is often seen as the one who has more power, often because they have written the contract and dictate the terms of the contract. However, I often tell clients that the landlord needs to rent that space to make money. Otherwise, they are losing money. They are willing to talk and negotiate, but the difficult problem is that a typical commercial lease can be twenty pages or more in length. Leases in particular often have very dense prose with many obscure legal terms.

Information design may be a way to foster understanding between the tenant and landlord and bring them closer together. Interestingly enough, they both have a very similar goal, which is to make money.

We are going to start a series of posts where we will talk about some of those ideas and principles from information design that you could implement within your own contracts and processes.