Session 2: Achieving Digital Equity: Workers’ Perspectives, User Journey Interviews, and Project Highlights
During ADE User Journey Interviews, 20 low-income residents from across BC were asked to describe their digital practices, experiences, and approaches to finding and using digital legal resources. To learn from community workers, over 430 intermediaries, and LABC staff and partners were asked about their clients’ experiences and their own experiences with digital legal resources. Key findings include:
• Legal issues are commonly associated with stress and/or trauma, and mental health issues. This creates barriers and makes emotional support important.
• Legal processes, concepts, and terminology are unfamiliar to many. Many people may not know what services are available and how to find them. Many associate legal help with legal representation; they are less familiar with other kinds of help (such as PLEI).
• Combined issues of digital equity and access to justice can create a “double set” of (digital and legal) barriers that can occur before seeking help, during searches, and while using digital legal resources. Community workers indicated that, apart from technology access, the most impactful barriers they observe are legal complexity, stress, and lack of comfort with technology.
• While many opt to search for legal help online (almost exclusively via Google), search engines mediate access to web resources in various ways.
• Supportive, knowledgeable, one-to-one assistance was frequently described as the most effective means of addressing widespread barriers relating to legal complexity; stress, overwhelm, and trauma; and lack of technology access and comfort.
• A person-centred, accessibility-focused, and multi-channel approach to delivery of PLEI can use digital design practices that mitigate barriers, while also providing complementary and/or alternative forms of help for people who are unable to access or use digital legal resources.