Professor Schmitz: Consider user-centric design for ODR in the courts

Professor Amy J. Schmitz teamed up with the ADR coordinator for the courts in New Hampshire, Heather Scheiwe Kulp, to research and write an article “Real Feedback from Real People: Emphasizing User-Centric Designs for Court ODR,” DISPUTE RESOLUTION MAGAZINE | VOL 26, NO 2, pp. 6-12 (2020). In this article, they report findings from a survey of “regular court users” to discover how users are thinking about ODR in the courts and what would help them participate meaningfully. All the data that academics and court administrators see so often is depersonalized, and we can easily forget about the real human beings in our own environments – our neighbors– people who range in age, experience, and comfort with new technology. This article aims to pause the rush to digitize courts and dispute resolution, and check our assumptions with these neighbors, who in many ways are our friends, relatives, and people from non-academic, non-legal walks of life. The short article hopes to inspire user-centric design for ODR systems to advance access to justice.