MyLawBC was created by the Rechtwijzer team working with the Legal Service Society; a non-profit organisation that provides legal advice, information and representation to people in Canada on low incomes (Smith, 2019, p. 21). It is one of the most successful online resources in the justice sector and boasts consistently high traffic (Tandan, 2019, p. 4). The platform uses guided pathways to deliver user-specific legal information (Tandan, 2019, p. 4). Guided pathways use questions to diagnose, triage and create an action plan for the user so that they can address their legal problem directly and access additional resources (Tandan, 2019, p. 4). There are eight guided pathways spanning across the topic areas of divorce, mortgages, domestic violence and wills.
There are a number of tools on the website that are beneficial in terms of improving user engagement. For example, the website offers an indication of how long a pathway will take to complete alongside additional pathways that may be relevant. This is really important as it lets the user know if they are on the right pathway and they can set aside the suggested amount of time to focus on working through the questions.
The right hand panel of the website suggests additional support options such as pro bono centres and the contact details for these. This is important when using technology to enhance access to justice as users need to be able to access in-person support when they need it. Support helps to keep users engaged and therefore, they will be more likely to find a solution for their legal problem. In addition, there is the option to download a PDF action plan based on the answers that the users gives to prescribed questions. Having a clear action plan that the user can refer back to helps to mitigate any confusion the user may have. This may also save time if the user requires additional support as the legal services provider can see the information that they have already accessed.
MyLawBC was self-reviewed in 2019 to determine its efficacy and areas for improvement (Smith, 2019, p. 8). Recommendations for review included adding key words to heading tags to help the user clearly identify additional resources, featuring content more prominently and updating the contents of the pages to match the key words that users are searching for (Tandan, 2019). These suggestions reflect the importance of having a user centred approach to legal technology in the justice sector and reiterates how design thinking can help make tangible improvements in this area.
Engagement; Support; Trust & Transparency
1. Smith, R. (2019) Annual Report Summer 2019: The Digital Delivery of Legal Services to people on low incomes. The Legal Education Foundation. Available at: www.thelegaleducationfoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/Digital-Technology-Summer-2019.pdf [Accessed 12 April 2020].
2. Tandan, A. (2019) MyLawBC: Understanding Outcomes [online]. Legal Services Society. Available at: https://lss.bc.ca/sites/default/files/2019-06/MLBCunderstandingOutcomesFINAL.pdf [Accessed 14 April 2020].