Better Legal Help workshop with legal help and search stakeholders

This past July, our Legal Design Lab held a 2-day workshop with about 20 participants, to rethink how legal help sites present their content online. It’s part of our going Better Legal Internet initiative.

In particular, we looked at how help sites can use Schema.org metadata on their sites might allow search engines to better find and serve up their content on search results pages.

We had people from Legal Services Corporation, legal help sites, the California courts, Pro Bono Net, Google, Microsoft, and Schema.org. We worked with the help of a Schema expert, Richard Wallis, to understand what the value of using Schema.org metadata is, and then to determine how best to adapt its generic terminology to the specifics of legal services.

We used a prototyping, feedback, iteration approach — where in small groups and the large working group we tried out different ways to apply the markup terms to actual content — and then to see what fit, what didn’t, and what changes we could make to use it effectively without too much delay or requests for additional terms to be added to the language.

From the project, we are working on creating a tool to automatically generate this schema, after having a group fill in the basics of information about their org. You can see a working version at this website.

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