Guardianship Navigator workshop


We held workshops in 2014 to design new services and products to help a lay person navigate a Guardianship action in California courts.

Our group at Stanford is working with court staff & self-help center directors to revise the current process that users must go through, to make it easier to understand and get a successful resolution. We are using a human-centered design process to generate breakthrough ideas and make sure they will be usable, useful, and engaging for the users.

This page documents the ideas our design process generated, as well as the process itself.

Project Goals

We are building accessible, intuitive, interactive resources that support the expert and lay user alike to understand what the law is, and how they can navigate it strategically in their situation, so they can take full advantage of the legal system to resolve their problems and protect themselves from costly, inefficient, and unjust outcomes.

We believe that the law should not just be open, but that legal processes should be user-friendly so that anyone in the US has equal access to the relief that courts & government provide — and equal protection from abuses of the justice system.

Ideas from the group

Our Approach

We are using a human-centered design approach, in which we invite all of the stakeholders & users of the Guardianship legal process to participate in generating new concepts for improving this process & experience.

Then we have a core team of designers, developers, and legal experts take these concepts and develop them into working prototypes.

These prototypes are then tested in the field, by the actual users, and if they are vetted as successful, they are improved & scaled up for piloting.

Our stakeholder group is comprised of representatives from Bay Area groups including:

  1. nonprofits
  2. pro bono groups in law firms
  3. government agencies
  4. state courts
  5. the Judicial Council
  6. self-help centers

Map of Ideas that came out of the design workshop

Map of suggestions to create better navigation for guardianship
Ideas for improving the guardianship system by stage

Prototypes for guardianship legal help

As we talked through how to create tech to improve the guardianship process, one big recommendation was to have a step-by-step guide platform. It would include deadlines, tasks, forms, etc. A person could populate all required forms and reminders by entering their information once. Then the platform would fill in all the things needed — and only ask for extra fields as needed.

The platform could also help keep a person on track, with the right dates, tasks, and requirements.

We developed the guardianship navigator at the same time as talking about similar processes in the immigration space. We started making sketches & visual mockups for a tech platform that could help a litigant/applicant through these complicated, administrative processes (that might turn adversarial or contentious…).

We also developed a prototype of what a walk-through explanation of guardianship application might look like. Note: this is not a working legal application.

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