Report on litigants’ outcomes on Zoom court hearings

The Indiana University team, led by professor Victor Quintanilla, has released the report Accessing Justice with Zoom: Experiences and Outcomes in Online Civil Courts.

The team had set up a novel system to recruit court users to give feedback about their experience attending court in-person or remotely, combining that with administrative data and observational data about how the hearings proceeded. This allows them to examine the various effects, preferences, and outcomes that are at play now that online/remote/Zoom court proceedings are now available.

Explore some of the findings that the team found with Indiana court users, including

  • the technological capability and usage of litigants
  • comparison of preferences for remote hearings vs in person
  • how people participated in remote hearings
  • how frequently litigants experienced technical issues
  • what kinds of concerns and dynamics were interrelated

See more at the Indiana Equity Accelerator.


Court focus on user-centered experience & inclusive design

The National Center for State Courts has a working group of justice leaders who have released a December 2022 report “Just Horizons” — pointing to systemic vulnerabilities in the court system and opportunities for building a better future, where the institutions are strong, the public is served, and there is a healthy justice ecosystem.

There are 6 areas of Vulnerabilities & Opportunities laid out, where justice institutions can invest to strengthen their performance, impact, and infrastructure. These include a focus on the future, using data, private entity management, emergency preparedness, future-ready workforce, and user-centered design.

These areas all resonate with our work at the Legal Design Lab:

  • A focus on the intentional design of civic systems: government institutions like courts should be looking to the future to see what kinds of services, relationships, infrastructure, and outcomes they want to be having. They should work with diverse stakeholders to set this future agenda, and scope out projects to reach this better future.
  • Prioritizing the users of the government institutions, rather than just the institutions themselves: many times, when we talk about what government institutions like courts should be doing, the focus is on internal metrics — efficiency, cases closed, calendaring, staffing, and budget. These are important factors, but they must be balanced out with metrics that reflect the interests of the people the institutions are meant to help and serve.
  • Participation of diverse stakeholders in providing feedback about the status quo, finding and scoping new solutions, and evaluating new revisions to ensure they are serving the audiences as intended.

Language Access Reading Wayfinding in legal system

How graphic design helps us navigate buildings

This 99 Design article by Alex Bigman gives a photo tour of wayfinding designs from hospitals, airports, and other government buildings.

If it weren’t for graphic design, you’d have a lot more trouble finding the restroom. Office buildings, museums and libraries would also become virtually impossible to navigate. And garages? Don’t even bother trying to remember where you parked.

Though we often take it for granted, wayfinding design – the environmental design practice involving the creation of signs and directories to help us figure out where we are and where we want to go in structures – is a key function of graphic design in everyday urban life.

Not long ago we became fascinated by the debates surrounding subway map design, and now wayfinding design has captivated us as well. Check out these thirty examples of awesome and unusual wayfinding signage, and think of how lost you’d be without it.

Language Access Reading

Access to Justice for People Who Do Not Speak English

This article by Chief Justice Randall T. Shepard of Indiana describes what justice issues arise out of language access problems in state courts.