Ideabook Procedural Guide

Interactive Legal Maps

Open Law Lab - Visual Law - Interactive Legal Maps

I’ve been prototyping various means to deliver & build legal knowledge — with a specific consideration of bolstering Access to Justice. One pathway, of course, is Visualized Law.

I’ve been playing with it with cartoons and illustrations, and in other forms (hyperlinked, layered checklists — visual expert systems).

One promising prototype is the Visual Mind Map, that is hyperlinked & lively with images, videos, & other cues that can guide the user through. The promise of such a map is that it lets the user locate themselves in a specific cluster of resources within a broader field of information. They can see the broad scope of the area they are in, while still focusing in on what precise information they need to retrieve & actions they need to pursue.

What would such an interactive legal mind map look like in practice? See this embedded Popplet for a first generation play with this format. I’ve used Popplets a lot for my own brainstorming, paper-writing, research, and collaborations with teams. I know there is great potential in scoping out a version of such a mind-mapping specifically for legal resources.

I see a future mash-up of interactive mind map diagrams with a curated, semi-open wiki format. I would love all the legal knowledge and advice out there on a specific legal problem to be extracted out of forums, pamphlets, q-and-as, blog posts, news articles, and other random clips of text around the web — and diagrammed out clearly & visually (if not beautifully too).

I can understand legal topics better when they are composed on the page in a meaningful way, and my guess is that most people with legal problems who are searching around the Internet would also benefit from a Legal Map to ground them & guide them. No more blocks of text!

Another kind of navigator, that shows you how to get from point A to point B, from problem to resolution — this one came out of our immigration hackathon.

Legal Design Projects - title cards-12 - interactive legal map

Ideabook Procedural Guide

Smart checklist and timeline guides

Legal Design Projects - title cards-11 - smart checklist and timelien
An idea to help lay people go through legal processes by giving them interactive and customized guides to going through them step by step.

It is a website that gives a serialized set of prompts and information. We have made a first version of this as Navocado.

Ideabook Procedural Guide

Legal navigator concept sketches

Legal Navigator Images

One of the projects on my front-burner is getting a great legal navigator built, that takes a person step-by-detailed-step through a legal process. Here are some of the sketches from my notebooks on how I hope to actually lay these out on a webpage and/or printed page. Composition has turned out to be a fun but non-linear design challenge. How to lay out lots of complicated steps thoroughly, but without overwhelming the user? You can see some of my rough initial thoughts here in my sketches.

Process Guide - Triage and then guide - Design Process - Legal Navigators

Ideabook Triage and Diagnosis App for youth

A group out of Chicago, the Mikva Juvenile Justice Council, is making an app to help young people understand & go through an Expungement legal process. The Knight Foundation is funding the project through its Prototype fund. The project aims “To create a prototype version of, a mobile app designed to aid juvenile offenders in navigating the legal process.”

via JJC Recommends App for Expungement.

Mikva’s Juvenile Justice Council met with the Cook County Board President, Toni Preckwinkle, to present their recommendation on creating an app for juveniles to get more information on the expungement process. The group has been working all through the summer to address the question of “what tools, policies, and practices do youth need to successfully transition from corrections to community?”

Through online research, site visits and talks with pioneers in the field, Mikva youth found that out of 25,000 arrests made in 2012, there were only 70 requests for expungement (expungement refers to the process of sealing prior convictions or arrests). Given this information, and the dearth of accessible information about the process, the Council suggested creating an Expungement App. This tool will serve to educate young detainees and parents about the process and help them find appropriate lawyers and classes.

The group is very excited about this project. “This will help make the expungement process more convenient for teens; teens can easily start the process from their phones,” they said.