For online legal help, people need Escape Hatches

In some recent testing of possible online court scenarios (with “Wizard of Oz” prototyping — not really coding these online court scenarios), our research team has observed an interesting trend.

Many users will click on a button to ‘Skype with a Judge’ or to ‘Start Online Court’. They are intrigued and a little excited to get it done, and to have a face-to-face experience. But at the same time, they want an Escape Hatch. They want to be able to shut down the live interaction if it starts getting uncomfortable, they don’t know what to do, or they feel that it is going in a negative direction for their outcome.

It’s an equivalent of simulating static or a poor connection — Oh no, my Internet is gone, sorry I have to leave the court!

Some wanted this guarantee of an Escape Hatch or an Emergency Eject option before entering the live court experience. Others only wanted it once they had entered into the virtual experience, and then realized they weren’t comfortable and wanted it to end immediately, without harming their status with the court.

How to actually implement this (or whether we could actually implement this) is still an open question. Is there any In Real Life court in which a defendant can just run out of the court room, citing “emergency factors”, without it prejudicing their case?