This guide is written to help authors designing "guided interviews", or interactive legal applications, for any platform.
It will help you understand:
- which questions to include
- how to write them well
- how to group and organize them into screens
- how to add supporting content, like next steps
We have tried to pull out a list of actionable tips, especially where those tips might be different in the context of guided interviews compared to more general guidance about good legal writing and good writing for forms.
We have also thought deeply about how to measure the burden that completing a form places on a user. You might find our section on form complexity helpful to read along with this section.
There's no substitute for usability testing
While the contents of this guide are expert guidance, gathered from both our own experience and that of experts in usability, there's no real substitute for observing the experiences of real users of your tool.
The Legal Tech Class has a brief primer on conducting your own usability tests. Usability testing can be simple, cheap, and easy!
- Plan to conduct just a few--you'll learn most of what you need after the third test, and gain almost nothing after a 5th test.
- Usability tests involve one user at a time, not a group.
- You can follow a simple script to do a usability test!
- Honorariums help. Be ready to pay people for their time.
Other content resources
- Best practice in form design: round up
- How to write good legal stuff
- Readable Info Sheet
- Make it Readable cheat sheet
- En rules or em dashes (google search for this)
- Mass Legal Services page (Assembly Line team member Caroline edited most of this content)
- Gerunds and Participles: Avoiding -ING words
Comprehensive style guides
- Jarrett, Caroline and Gaffney, Gerry. Forms that Work: Designing Web Forms for Usability. Morgan Kaufmann Publishers (2009).
Who contributed to this guide
Members of the Document Assembly Line team, especially:
- Kate Barry
- David Colarusso
- Maeve MacGlinchey
- Caroline Robinson
- Quinten Steenhuis