Hack for LA - Expunge Assist

March 2024


Expunge Assist is a Hack for LA Civic Tech project. It is dedicated to providing resources to individuals with criminal records in California seeking expungement.

Since the initial launch, Expunge Assist has assembled a content team tasked with refreshing content and establishing a comprehensive content guideline. Our goal is to set forth a fresh voice and tone that incorporates trauma-informed language best practices.


UX Writer


UX Designer: Ellynna Ruan


Notion, Google Drive, Figma, Github, Slack


During UI testing, our team discovered several interruptions in the user flow, requiring the implementation of effective messaging to inform site visitors of encountered failures and redirect them to an alternative section of the website.

These error pages provided the opportunity to utilize our newly established voice and tone guidelines, while also prioritizing trauma-informed language practices that would enhance user engagement.

The initial scope of the project included a "404", an "Oops" page

Voice and Tone

Expunge assists voice is empowering, inclusive, and empathetic.

Straight to the Point

404 Error Page

Softening the tone for "The page you are looking for no longer exists" to trauma informed focused language and informs the user of what caused the page not to be available.

Oops Page

Creating Clarity

I updated the language on the error page from 'Oops' to 'Page Refreshed' to adopt an informative voice and tone. Creating clear guidance on what happened and the next step to take.

The shift from active to passive tone reflects the pages point of no return. Due to privacy concerns the information cannot be stored. Meaning the user cannot retrieve their work in progress if the refresh the page while using the declaration generator.

Where to Re-direct the User?

While I initially used a "RETURN HOME" call to action in my drafts. I realized it may not be the best course of action. After all, losing all of your work could lead to feeling stressed and frustrated.

Redirecting users to the home page would increase the number of clicks needed to return to the start of the letter generator, potentially exacerbating their negative emotional state.

How can we ease stress and assist in maintaining momentum after a user loses all of their work?

Exploring the Declaration Generator User Flow

Choosing a Call to Action

What I Learned

While overlooked error messages are an integral part of digital products. They need to provide the necessary information to guide the user when something goes wrong. They also create a sense of completion.


©2024 by Claudia Jankowski