The role of cognitive reasoning and decision making and user testing in the enhancement of communication of legislative messages in a digital age

  • Andrew Nkunika

Abstract

Legislative drafting is an essential means devised for the facilitation of the implementation of government policies by governments in various jurisdictions. The drafting of legislation has to take into account the various users of the legislation and balance their various interests while maintaining the policy objectives for which the legislation is enacted.  The changing needs of the users of legislation have necessitated the revision of the manner in which regulatory messages are communicated to users more effectively.  The changing needs of users consequently require constant analysis in order to ensure that the legislation developed is increasingly capable of more effective implementation.

Legislation has traditionally been viewed as a complex and technical myriad of words that are beyond the attainment of an ordinary user despite it being designed to regulate the very fabric of the user’s existence in a civilised society. Further, legislation has in some instances been criticised from being too detached from the aspiration of the people that it regulates. This challenge is further exacerbated by the fact that compliance with increasingly complex legislation is becoming more and more essential as society continues to evolve and be influenced by technology and other factors that require a revision of the traditional view and utility of legislation.

The changing uses of legislation and the increasing diversity of its users has given rise to the increased need to test the usability of legislation in order to ensure that the regulatory messages that it presents are usable by the various audiences at which it is targeted, on a cognitive level, in order to ensure its universal application to the greatest extent possible. This discussion aims to examine the role of cognitive reasoning and decision making as well as user testing in the legislative drafting process and how this can be used to ensure more effective communication of regulatory messages for the effective implementation of legislation.

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