Prototyping Access to Justice courses

The Challenge

We partnered with self help centers local California courts, which exist to help resolve common family, debt, housing, and other civil disputes. The courts are interested in how people without lawyers can more efficiently, and effectively use the civil legal system.

Though the legal system was built to be used by people with lawyers, increasingly (especially in California) people use it without lawyers. This means that people are getting things wrong, and courts aren’t working efficiently.

Goals & Deliverables

Our court partners have asked us for our proposals for how the court building, website, services, forms, and other service elements can be made more usable, accessible, and engaging. Our classes are structured with this as the overarching goal. We are taking a human-centered design to craft our analysis and proposals.

On this page, we will document the design work — like maps, personas, sketches, and brainstorms — we do, as well as the concepts that we propose and vet.

A Photo Walk-through of Court

Have you ever been to a court or a Self-Help Center in the U.S.?

Here is a photo-walk-through of what a California court experience is like.

Our Design Work

Our team has been running a series of design sprints and full-quarter courses in California and Massachusetts. In this design work, students, designers, court professionals, and other experts are documenting what the status quo of the user journey through the civil legal system is, particularly for those without a lawyer.

They are identifying core types of users and their needs and requirements.

And they have mapped out the services the users receive, where there are failpoints, emotional highs and lows, and opportunities for improvement.