The Scottish Legal Aid Board wanted to redesign the application process and associated forms for the application of legal aid, with a greater emphasis on self completion by the applicant. Based on feedback from users and employees involved with processing the applications, certain high-level issues had been identified with the forms, and over 30% had to be returned to the applicants as they were incomplete.
Overall, the aim was to improve the usability of the forms concerned to make them easier to complete with minimal assistance, and significantly reduce the number of applications returned as incomplete or incorrectly completed.
What we did
Two rounds of expert user experience evaluation were carried out in an iterative manner on the main applicant’s form, the financial statement, and supporting literature, with the design being revised between evaluations based on the first set of feedback. In the second evaluation, the set of forms used by the solicitors were also evaluated.
Both evaluation reports gave solid recommendations for improving the usability of the forms based on the requirements of the different audiences and the overall process.
SLAB and their design team enthusiastically received our recommendations and have implemented nearly all of them. The reports also attracted praise for their practical solutions and being very easy to read. The forms are currently in trial, and although no hard data is yet available there is a great deal of anecdotal feedback that attests to the improved usability of the forms.