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code for boston

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How might we help people in Massachusetts expunge their criminal records? 

The Project

Code for Boston uses creative design and technology to help local nonprofits solve civic challenges.

The Clean Slate Project of Code for Boston is partnering with Citizens for Juvenile Justice and Greater Boston Legal Services to help people in MA get housing and employment by expunging their criminal records. 


As Project Manager and UX Designer, I am helping guide the project's mission and design process to help people understand and apply for expungement online.


September 2019 - March 2020

Weekly sprints



Sharpie and whiteboard

Docassemble - A free, open-source system for document assembly, based on Python, YAML, and Markdown.

My Role

On a team of engineers, data scientists and two designers, I

  • Project managed and assigned the mission, goal, and weekly tasks of the project.

  • Conducted discovery research about users with our nonprofit partner and stakeholders.

  • Created user journey map of expungement process.

  • Usability tested interactive prototypes.

  • Oversaw all user research and testing efforts. 

  • Created wireframes and collaborated with developers to build them out. 

The Problem

If you have a criminal record in Massachusetts, it can be extremely difficult to qualify for housing, employment and educational opportunities.

In October of 2018 Massachusetts created new legislation that allowed people to apply to get their records expunged. However, people find it difficult to discover, qualify for and successfully apply. for expungement. 

The problem the Clean Slate Team aims to solve is: How might we help people in MA learn about, qualify for and apply to get their records expunged? 

The Solution

We believe that by creating a web app we will be able to help users apply to expunge their criminal record in Massachusetts in order to access employment, housing, and educational opportunities. 

UX Process

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Journey Mapping

What are the steps, emotions and actions of someone applying for expungement in MA?

For the 2019 National Day of Civic Hacking, I worked in a team of 10 to produce a journey map that would help communicate the steps it takes to get your record expunged in MA. 

Without users to interview at the time of journey mapping, we created the map with the help of lawyers who had subject matter expertise and could explain the process. The next step after creating the map would be to validate it with users.  

National Day of Civic Hacking 2019 Journey Map



Journey Map of the MA Expungement Process for the 2019 National Day of Civic Hacking

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Creating the MA Expungement Process Journey Map with a fellow UX Designer

Clean Slate Team Journey Map Presentation for 2019 National Day of Civic Hacking

User Flow

How might we break down the paper application form and help someone apply online?

To create an app that would allow users to fill out their expungement form online, we needed to understand every part of the paper expungement form. 

We outlined all the sections of the form and translated that into an initial user flow. We also identified areas we could improve language to be clearer, add tooltips to explain items further, and simplify the steps. 

Marijuana Expungement Form Flow.png

Expungement form user flow

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Expungement form

Marijuana Expunement App Flow

Creating user flow from paper form


How might we help users know whether they qualify for record expungement?

While we had the steps we needed for a user to fill out their form online, we decided to add several questions before a user would get to  the form to help them determine whether they qualified for expungement and were eligible to fill out the form. 

Our team decided on simple language that someone with a fourth-grade reading level could understand. 

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First page of our expungement form prototype

Interactive Prototype

We created a clickable prototype in docassemble that would work on both desktop and mobile.

I had the opportunity to demo our prototype with my teammate in December of 2019 for the Code for Boston Demo Night at the Cambridge Innovation Center.

My teammate and I presenting and demoing the prototype

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