Process Guides are products or services that can guide a lay person (or even a novice lawyer) step-by-step through a legal matter. As the category title implies, it’s about taking a process-based view of how legal tasks can get done. We must break the procedures down into a concrete sequence of steps, and then for each step we give granular, plain English, visual guidance for how to get it done.
Use a process guide when there is a sequence of steps to follow, for the user to achieve an outcome like a legal relief, access to services, or the creation of work product. A process guide will help you present these steps in a staged, comprehensible way for people unfamiliar with the process to follow.
Process guides — done well — mean exploding the usual ways we as lawyers convey legal guidance. No more static PDFs, no more hour long power point webinars, no more overly short & generic appetizer article about do’s & don’ts. Rather, we need a comprehensive & staged, thorough & interactive process navigator, that will lead a person through every nitty-gritty detail of getting a legal process done but do it in a responsive, smart, companion-like way.
Design standards for a process guide
It should be written in Plain language, it should allow a user to check tasks off, set reminders for others, save her progress, share her info & have it saved into the navigator, complete her forms and tasks on the platform, and generally be her all-in-one guide to getting this task done.
It should be like an expert paralegal, or court navigator, plus personal assistant to help a person complete all the steps of a legal procedure without missing paperwork, deadlines, or crucial small details. It should also help the person form an accurate timeline & workload expectation from the outset of a legal process, so she has a more transparent view of what’s coming & what she should be doing.
What are different styles of process guides?
- The wizard: taking the user through an entire task one step at a time, showing her which steps there are and how many she has completed. The wizard offers a series of screens/dialog boxes that has the user do one step at a time, and lets her jump to a previous or next step, til she reaches the conclusion. They are meant to be fast and easy, breaking a complex task into manageable bites.
- The timeline: laying out steps along a sequence track
- The checklist: listing out steps one after the other, letting a person go through one by one and marking off the completed ones
- The map: showing the paths open to the user, and then letting her zoom into each one-by-one
What makes for a good process guide?
- All details, forms, and action items are presented along with the steps — at the right time, right there integrated into the guide
- It is clearly up to date & reliable (or marked clearly if it might be ‘expired’)