A paper on “An Asian Perspective on Online Mediation” puts forward an agenda for making all the advances made in Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) transition to mobile devices. ODR had been PC-based, but this isn’t relevant for the majority of the world, who do not have reliable access to PCs, but who are regular users of mobile phones.
Sanaja Hattotuwa & Melissa Conley Tyler put forward some advice on what a Mobile Dispute Resolution system, aimed at Asian Pacific populations would look like:
Build specifically for smaller, more streamlined mobile devices
“ODR systems must treat the smaller form factor of mobile devices as an advantage, creating experiences that are designed to effectively make use of phone keypads and smaller screens, pervasive and user independent standard for data exchange between PC and non-PC devices, expert systems that intelligently manipulate information and deliver it in appropriate ways to users of the system, systems that use voice and video to facilitate virtual face-to-face (F2F) interactions and use internet radio to promote ADR mechanisms and most importantly, augment the capacity of existing ADR providers to engage with the complex socio-political issues that result from protracted conflict and peacebuilding.
Hide Complexity: Make the Tech Look Simple
“In creating new ODR systems for conflict transformation, the emphasis should firmly be on frameworks that hide the complexities of the technology and present users who with a human face for ODR. Such systems will engage communities rather than overwhelm them with sophisticated systems that bear little or no relation to the problems of their daily lives. Systems that are self-effacing and empower communities resolve conflicts on their own stem from a design perspective that is nourished by a recognising and acknowledging the needs of communities on the ground, as opposed to the imposition of high-end systems in a top-down approach.”
Follow the Community’s Needs & Aspirations
A priority is “defining ODR requirements and systems based on needs and priorities that have been expressed by the communities and users themselves, and not just articulated by political stakeholders or traditional power-centre.”
“ODR systems that don’t develop existing local capacities and instead impose architectures that are alien to target communities may well lead to new conflicts which in turn re-ignite dormant emotions, leading to a spiralling vortex of violence that runs counter to the intended goals of ODR itself”
Build ODR into the Existing Community Systems
Also necessary: “Embedding community-based ODR services within existing economic, governance and social structures, while at the same time creating opportunities for communities to use ODR systems to transcend regressive socio-political architectures and create new social contracts.”