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Saturday, December 4 • 1:30pm - 2:00pm
Improving Public Access to Online Legal Information through Universal Design

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Improving Public Access to Online Legal Information through Universal Design

This session will discuss how to make public access (i.e., free) legal information websites more user-friendly using design thinking methods (user personas and user journeys) and universal design principles. The session will explain these methods and principles, which can then be applied in a variety of library work.

The reason for making free legal information websites more user-friendly is access to justice. Libraries that provide *physical* access to legal information will always be essential to the access to justice effort, but *online* access to free legal information is also important because legal information is increasingly digital and more people are searching for it online. The rule of law is a basic principle of most nations, as is the principle that people should have free access to the laws that govern them. In the United States, the justice system applies to everyone, but is inaccessible to many people in several ways. For example, laws and legal information that have been made more easily discoverable through online searching are usually behind digital paywalls. Also, laws and legal information that are publicly accessible without a charge are scattered across numerous government and nonprofit websites, each with a different layout and search functionality that usually takes effort for users who are new to the website to learn. Making it easier for everyone to find legal information online enhances our ability to engage and participate in the legal system that governs us. This session concludes with an idea of building a network of official legal information websites with a uniform format that would be useful, inclusive, and simple to use.

This session is based on the speaker’s paper, Toward A Universal Design for Public Access Online Legal Information: User Personas, User Journeys, a Proposal, and a Prototype (forthcoming in Legal Reference Services Quarterly; winner of the University of Washington Earl Borgeson Research in Law Librarianship Award for the 2020-21 academic year). The research participants for this paper included five Hawai‘i residents (including three librarians).

avatar for Connie Chang

Connie Chang

MLIS Candidate (degree expected August 2021), University of Washington
Connie Chang is a former lawyer and law school lecturer.  She completed the Master of Library and Information Science program with Specialization in Law Librarianship (MLIS Law) at the University of Washington (UW) in August 2021.  She lives in Honolulu and works remotely for UW’s... Read More →

Saturday December 4, 2021 1:30pm - 2:00pm HST
Track 1

Attendees (8)