A Human-Centered Design Approach to Access to Justice: Generating New Prototypes and Hypotheses for Intervention to Make Courts User-Friendly

How can the court system be made more navigable and comprehensible to unrepresented laypeople trying to use it to solve their family, housing, debt, employment, or other life problems? This Article chronicles human-centered design work to generate solutions to this fundamental challenge of access to justice. It presents a new methodology: human-centered design research that can identify key opportunity areas for interventions, user requirements for interventions, and a shortlist of vetted ideas for interventions. This research presents both the methodology and these “design deliverables” based on work with California state courts’ Self Help Centers. It identifies seven key areas for courts to improve their usability, and, in each area, proposes a range of new interventions that emerged from the class’s design work. This research lays the groundwork for pilots and randomized control trials, with its proposed hypotheses and prototypes for new interventions, that can be piloted, evaluated, and — ideally — have a practical effect on how comprehensible, navigable, and efficient the civil court system is.

Publication Date:
May 22 2018
Date Submitted:
Jun 28 2019
Journal of Law and Social Equality
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 Record created 2019-06-28, last modified 2019-08-06

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