How understanding law firm UX helps you and your clients
Much like practicing law, creating a good user experience (UX) on your law firm’s website can be very complicated. It requires a combination of technical and creative skills that help you connect with prospective clients online. But if you do it right, the payoff is well worth the effort.
In fact, an intuitive UX on a law firm’s website can help guide potential clients from the moment they click on your site to the time they contact your firm. Simply put, having good UX can be the difference between a client calling you for help or the competition down the street.
However, while you are already adept at crafting a winning legal argument, you may not have the practical know-how — or time — to build your firm a website, let alone learn UX best practices. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have a basic understanding of good law firm UX. That way, you will know what to ask for from a web designer.
Understanding law firm UX means knowing what it takes to give your clients the best possible experience with your practice online. After all, your website is likely the first interaction a potential client will have with your firm — so you better leave a good first impression.
Why UX matters to lawyers
You might be asking yourself “why should I care about my website’s UX at all? That’s someone else’s problem.” But the truth is that good law firm UX is an extension of something that has always been important to lawyers: your reputation.
The best lawyers know that every aspect of their presentation contributes to their reputation, and their website is the digital front in that effort. You could be the best lawyer in the world, but an unintuitive or otherwise off-putting user experience online will cost you clients.
Law Firm UX is especially important because more and more legal consumers rely on firms’ websites to research, vet, and connect with legal professionals. Ultimately, the purpose of understanding law firm UX is to help you serve more clients, better.
UX factors that every site should consider — including yours
When analyzing your law firm’s digital user experience, there are several elements that every web developer and designer will focus on no matter what kind of website they are building. These include:
- Page speed: Keep page loading times as short as possible. This means using minimal effects or layers of code that can slow page load times. This is important to both Google and potential clients.
- Design: Your site should have a clean and professional aesthetic. This design choice should be consistent across all pages on your site, with obvious, working links between them for easy navigation.
- Responsiveness: A responsive design is one that is optimized for mobile viewing. This means your site needs to look and function just as well on a smartphone as it does on a desktop computer.
- Content: Not only should your content be engaging and unique, but you should also list the most important client information first, i.e. “above the fold.” Studies show that most visitors will not scroll far to find what they want, so keeping the vital information front and center is a necessity.
Important UX considerations for law firms
Once you understand the basics of UX design, you can focus on the details that matter most to your law firm specifically. This includes things like the name of your firm, what types of law you practice, and the jurisdictions you are admitted in. It’s important to know that most legal consumers will not be familiar with some of the nomenclature of the legal profession, so presenting these things in a clear and consumable fashion might be helpful.
Probably the most important aspects of UX for law firms are functional contact buttons and intuitive contact forms. Make sure your phone number can be tapped on mobile devices so that users can immediately call you. Your email address should link to open a new email for users to write and send. Your office address can even open up a virtual map to help people find their way to you. The goal is the reduce the number of possible roadblocks that may frustrate and turn off potential clients and make contacting your firm as easy as possible.
Good law firm UX never stops
The unfortunate reality is that a good user experience requires maintenance. Regularly updating your site can help you protect your site’s integrity, spot errors that could hinder navigation, and improve your search ranking. Aside from these technical benefits, updates can also show clients your dedication to delivering high-quality legal service. Your contact information and options should always be kept current, but your law firm UX can be much more than that. You could demonstrate your expertise with topical blog entries, or show your personality with new photos, videos, or social media posts.
If all of this is starting to feel overwhelming, don’t panic. We can handle all of this for you. At Findlaw, we understand law firm UX, and can provide you with an intuitive, mobile-optimized website. What’s more, we can also create customized tools that allow you to update your own site with new blog posts or social feeds, and we perform regular site maintenance — giving you peace of mind that your digital marketing is always working for you.