It is now common for defendants to appear in court via video from a correctional centre. Making sure the encounter works well means more than a reliable technical connection, for remote defendants the court atmosphere, rituals and subtle interactions can be lost. And for the Judiciary and legal practitioners, even with higher levels of training, viewing a remote defendant from prison may influence the way that person is perceived.
At the Design Innovation Research Centre we conducted a deep design research project exploring these interactions, with the intention of improving the interaction between all parties and moving towards fairer and respectful experiences of justice.
A large part of this study involved redesigning the video courtroom, firstly to improve the technical considerations to enhance comfort, ergonomics and quality of interaction (drawing on previous design research conducted at the centre), and secondly through a visual language which clearly defines these spaces an extension of the courtroom, providing adequate visual cues to encourage behaviour and interaction that align with going to court.
We built a number of prototypes for testing and are currently exploring opportunities for larger trials.
There were a number of other elements to this project, also including design on the court side, onscreen layouts and design of information material for defendants moving through the process. More details can be found on the Design for Social Justice website.