Tax is a give and take system that binds our society together as humans by providing infrastructures and services that we all rely on in some form or another. Despite this, our understanding of tax and its traceability - what it does and how it contributes to our common society - can often be opaque and hard to trace. Can it really be considered democratic if it so hard to engage with? How could we rethink its meaning and our relationship with it? And how might our future connected environments offer new affordances for us to engage with tax in richer ways with our shared community and the larger give and take ecosystems we also rely on?
With this project, my goal was to dive into the complexity of tax and see if this intrinsically human system could be reframed to be more engaging for people but also more inclusive to non human entities, while also seeing how evolving technology could be shape our interactions with it.
As a system which is traditionally supposed to serve humans, it made sense initially to approach this project from a user centred perspective. But to really gain insight into how we need to be framing tax, I used life centred methodologies to frame the projects in context with the larger ecosystems we rely on too. Using speculative tools and research through design methodologies, I explored different design lenses by generating a series of different probes. After narrowing down one proposals I then fined tuned decisions around the design by speculating with users on the potential long term impact of the design.
My proposal, Trax, is a system which allows people of different ages to see and connect better with the impact of taxes in their area through 'tax tokens' to encourage engagement with their value and importance to both the individual, society and the environment. In many ways it raises more questions than it answers but it begins to explore an important point of engagement we have with our government, each other and our non human neighbours.
Trax is one just version of how we could interact with tax differently but there are more angles to explore! I am building a platform for sharing this space at www.taxlenses.com. Stay tuned for more tax chat! :)