CCI Civil Alternatives
A more just way to handle fees and fines in the NYC justice system.
As a part of their Civil Alternatives program, CCI engaged Blenderbox to design a meaningful e-learning solution for people who receive a civil summons and elect not to, or cannot, pay their fine. We transitioned an in-person community service course to an equitable, multi-language digital experience that allows people to fulfill their obligation on their own time.
Research and Discovery
As part of our human-centered design process, we began this project by attending a day in court, participating in the existing quality of life in-person course, interviewing real participants both before and after actual sessions, and hosting several workshops with subject-matter experts. This allowed us to fully understand the learning goals (and obstacles) that this unique project presented, identify key metrics to track, define our audience, and get clarity on areas where additional research on our part was still needed.
During this phase we also familiarized ourselves with the four tenets of procedural justice that would be underscoring the work throughout this project: treating court users with dignity and respect, ensuring that they understand the process they are involved in, providing them a voice, and communicating that court decisions are made neutrally.
In addition to reinterpreting CCI’s existing text-based documentation to work within our course, we also researched and tested independently. Based on the findings from our initial interviews, workshops, and research, and designing for adults with a wide range of language, literacy, and technological capabilities, we developed the content for the overall experience and crated storyboards for a sequence of five unique learning activities.
Technology and Pedagogy
This project allowed us to combine our creative energy with our knowledge of pedagogy and best practices in instructional design. We followed Moreno and Mayer’s primary learning styles, which focus on visual, auditory, reading/writing, and kinesthetic learning, and we paired the identified learning objectives with a variety of interactive features that are central to progressing through the hour-long course.
Conversational interfaces, motion graphics, videos, narrative arcs, mini-games, and quizzes all structure the learning moments and lessons within the course. Developing an appropriate and consistent tone for the module was also important for creating a dynamic experience that didn’t feel like a didactic government interaction.
We used Articulate Storyline 360 to produce the e-learning course. The final product is a fully accessible and Sharable Content Object Reference Model (SCORM) compliant experience.
Designed for the broad variety of people who come through NYC’s courts, we needed to be sure the experience worked for every reading level, technical ability, and degree of skepticism. We conducted user testing with volunteers who had recently been through the previous slow, bureaucratic process. They consistently preferred the new experience, and said they’d actually learned useful information.
The module is live at OATH facilities in every borough, lessening the financial and administrative burden on the city, engaging citizens on issues of civil justice and quality of life crimes, and bringing awareness to personal behavior through interactive learning.
Civic & Government