Law by Design Workshop: Making Immigration User-Friendly
Workshop Report

On Friday Nov. 15 & Saturday Nov. 16th, we held our first official Law By Design workshop, in which we invited lawyers, law students, technologists & designers to come together to build new tools for ordinary people to get in control of their legal tasks.

Our session focused on Immigration tasks — in particular, those faced by F1 & J1 students in the US — and how we can support these students to better understand their options & stay in control of them.

We began with a kickoff dinner on Friday, in which immigration attorney Michael Serotte spoke to the group about some immigration basics & problem scenarios. The attendees had already submitted ideas they had wanted to work on. During that kick-off dinner, they had time to meet all the other attendees & begin to choose a group to work with on our Saturday design sprint.

Not a Hackathon, but a Design Sprint

We planned this workshop specifically NOT to be a hackathon, but rather to be a Design Sprint that could then be the introductory work & basis for a later Hackathon (with developers & proper coding).
Our hypothesis was that if we bring designers & legal experts together, we can go from inklings of ideas to make the legal system better, to more robust concepts of what these interventions could be. The deliverable is not a live, working demo, but rather a well-thought out idea, along with specs, wireframes, storyboards, and other guiding tools that could be handed off to a developer team to actually build into a working model.

The goal was to get further along this progression of a project:
1 line idea >> A use case & a paragraph of an idea >> A storyboard of how the user would use your solution >> A first set of interfaces & interactions for the solution >> A reiteration of interfaces & interaction flow based on actual user input & feedback >> A coded project that works >> A tested, coded project, ready for first-ship

Our Work

We had 5 teams working on 5 different projects for users of the immigration system.
The session run as a collaborative & loose experience, with a set of regular check-ins, every 2-3 hours, for groups to present deliverables, hear feedback from the group, and receive guidance.
We requested them to have a new deliverable at each check-in: use-cases, storyboards, prototypes, and wireframes.
Two-thirds through the working day, 5 users came in to test each of the group’s prototypes. These users all fell into the target group of immigrants, and they went to each team’s station to test, ask questions, point out holes, and report what they enjoyed most & were most confused by.
After this testing session, the groups had one more period to iterate based on the testing feedback, and then pizza arrived & all of the groups shared a final presentation of their designs.
Please browse their ideas below & feel free to leave feedback for us! Our goal is to see the concept designs move forward, workshopping them further from low-fi prototypes to live, built products.

The Designs

These 5 concept designs emerged out of our Hands-On-Law weekend on Making Immigration User-Friendly. Click on each to explore them in greater detail, and see the process that took the teams from a simple idea to rich prototype.

An interactive navigator to guide internationals in the US through their visa pathways, with concrete tools to use to stay on track.

A map of immigration pathways that a person could be customized based on where they are coming from and where they want to go. It would offer details on price, probability of success, possible fail points, tasks, and other process tips.

A board game to teach young international students how to apply to a visa, while introducing their friends and family to the process.

Crowdfunding for immigration costs, to match people who want to come to & stay in the US, with their communities who want to support them.

A story-based intake site, that collects information from users about their life & intentions before meeting with an attorney.

 Images from Making Immigration User-Friendly

One Response
  • […] My Program for Legal Tech & Design held its first Law By Design workshop this past weekend at Stanford’s  We challenged attendees to go from one-line ideas to full-blown prototypes of new immigration products.  The goal was to develop better design patterns, concept ideas, and possible products for supporting ordinary people through the immigration system.  Please come over to the Program for Legal & Tech design to see our full report & each of the five designs that were… […]


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