Real Feedback from Real People: Emphasizing User-Centric Designs for Court ODR


As online dispute resolution (ODR) systems become increasingly popular and prevalent, especially for court cases, those of us considering and setting standards for ODR find ourselves wondering what users really need and want from this new technology. We all know about guidelines in other dispute resolution realms – the importance of avoiding bias and providing a fair process, for example – but how can we set standards for court ODR that encompass those ideals and actually help people who use the system? This question of court ODR standards is one that prompts considerable debate. At a discussion at the recent International Online Dispute Resolution Forum in Williamsburg, Virginia, panelists acknowledged that analogous professional standards and best practices can provide a helpful starting point for ethical design of ODR. However, barometers such as “impartial” and “fair” do not fully guide system design at the user level. That inspired us to think we should seek real feedback from real people on everything from the look and feel of a system to the availability of live assistance while using it. The point on the panel – and our point in this article – is that ODR standards or best practices should never stray far from what the users of ODR might expect from a platform they are required to use to conduct justice-related business. With this in mind, we propose a methodology of standards creation in one question: what would our families, friends, and next-door neighbors expect from an ODR system?

This content has been updated on 11 August 2020 at 13 h 21 min.