User Experience Design
Promoting the Strength of Boutique Legal Services
Kacvinsky Daisak Bluni PLLC (KDB) is a boutique law firm that focuses on intellectual property and patent law. They approached me wanting a new website for their firm that allowed them to be more competitive with other peer and larger law firms performing similar work.
When we met, KDB had a single-page website, no lawyer biographies or practice descriptions. To meet the complete needs of the project, I teamed up with Selbert-Perkins Design on the website design and Matter Communications on the content strategy for the new website.
Goals, Research & Analysis
We gained a thorough understanding of the goals KDB had for their website through in-person and online conversations. To understand the goals of their three primary audiences we conducted a half dozen interviews with current clients and recent firm hires.
Through these conversations, we identified the following goals for the firm:
Be competitive with larger law firms that did IP and patient law work
Convey the personality of the firm
Employ a modern and contemporary design
Promote the accomplishments and unique capabilities of the firm
Have consistent structure across biographies
Attract potential associates and partners that practiced IP and/or patent law. Ideally, these candidates also brought with them an additional area of expertise, such as a masters or PhD in an area outside of their legal degree
A responsive site (but of course this way a given!)
Audience consisted of business owners, in-house counsel and other lawyers (potential recruits for the firm). The first two audiences (business owners and in-house counsel) shared similar needs and traits and were combined into a single persona for the purpose of validating content and features.
“I want high quality legal work from experienced and understanding lawyers at a price that meets my legal budget.” – Client Persona
The lawyer persona had a different goal altogether. They were interested in learning about the firm’s culture, transparency of expectations, and unique value proposition as it related to how they interacted with clients.
Heuristic Evaluations / Competitive Analysis
We evaluated competitive firm websites for best practices and validated with audience research. A few key findings included:
Filterable lawyer search
Consistency on lawyer bio pages – have the narrative follow a set order and visual hierarchy
Highlight firm news and client testimonials
Keep navigation as simple as possible using clear labels
Information Architecture and Interaction Design
Taking what was learned from our research and the draft content, we sketched out a sitemap and some preliminary wireframes for the pages. The underlying architecture for the site was kept simple, using four major content sections, plus a landing page for careers.
In our research we found that many clients wanted a couple of things in particular when it came to the lawyer directory on the site:
- Photos. In some cases they never meet face-to-face; other times they might forget a name, but not a face so a photo helped to identify people. It was also important that the photo be current.
- The ability to filter the directory by particular criteria, namely: what particular type of law a lawyer practiced, where they were admitted to practice, and what degree(s) they had.
To explore the second point, I sketched out ideas for the filtering function and created a working prototype (shown below).
Design & Development
Using the approved sitemap, wireframes and draft content, a design for the website was created. One key to the design was the use of consistent and high-quality photography. This, in addition to well-written copy, helped to promote KDB’s image as a professional law firm capable of going head-to-head with larger (BigLaw) firms.