An attractive and functional website for your law firm is crucial to attracting new clients and staying relevant. It is also important for law firms to make sure that their websites offer great user experiences. Most users will have little understanding of the law; they will not exactly expect engaging experiences when they visit law firm websites. More often than not, they are on there out of necessity.
If you can break the conventional mould of being a drab, sterile law firm website, your potential clients are going to have much more memorable and impactful experiences. Not only does this subconsciously build trust in your site’s visitors, but it also has the potential to draw in more potential clients and expand your firm’s sphere of influence.
With this in mind, design your UX in such a way that a user can quickly and easily navigate to the information he or she needs and take the necessary actions for the situation, whether it is to get in touch about a simple legal question or to request a consultation about possibly hiring a law firm.
Use Video Content Wisely
When most people visit law firm websites, they likely expect walls of text and complicated legal jargon. If you take the time to use visual elements such as video content and infographics well, it conveys professionalism and a commitment to client success. Video content is explosively popular across the web design industry today – more people than ever are digesting content on the go or while they multitask, and you can offer visitors to your site valuable information using video.
Consider creating a video clip for the different practice area pages of your website. Such a clip provides an engaging and informative piece of content in an easily digestible format. Even a single piece of video content on your website’s “About Us” or “Our Firm” page can be extremely useful and conveys success to potential clients visiting your site. However, it is probably a good idea to turn off auto-play. Most users do not like clicking on a page only to be bombarded with audio they did not expect – it is both startling and frustrating. Make sure your video content is readily visible and offers users a modicum of control, such as pause/play, a volume slider, a mute button, and full-screen option.
Invest in Infographics
When users visit law firm websites, they tend to have very specific problems and want information that is relevant to their needs and easy to understand. Many designers are starting to understand the value of infographics – visual representations of information that make it easier for viewers to discern valuable bits of information and statistics quickly in an engaging format.
Several aspects of the legal world are complicated, and many laws have arisen out of very specific issues. When you take the time to develop infographics (or invest in having them designed by a professional design team), you provide your website’s visitors with an easily digestible format to get the information they need quickly. When these infographics are detailed, you show potential clients you understand the pain points of a particular area of law and have the experience necessary to address them adequately.
Focus Above the Fold
An important aspect of good UX is the fold of your website, or what immediately appears when a user clicks to your site. The “fold” is the area of the screen that the user must scroll down to see. The area of your home page above the fold should be easy to navigate and convey a clear message to visitors. Such message is the first thing users should see when they click to your website, so have relevant and valuable information easily accessible. The chances are high that when users do not immediately recognise value above your home page fold, they will click away to a different firm’s site very quickly.
Think about potential clients’ customer journey with your firm. The first thing they want is a law firm that can handle their issues. Clearly, display your firm’s name and areas of expertise, and offer users a very quick and easy way to make contact. You can accomplish this by prominently displaying your firm’s phone number and other contact information clearly above the fold. Additionally, consider having a consultation or inquiry form easily recognisable and accessible on your main home page above the fold. This way, the users who want to reach out to you directly can do so quickly, without having to hunt through your website for the information they need.
If your law firm specialises in one or more particular areas of law, it is a wise idea to have pages dedicated to information about those areas. For example, personal injury law is a very broad spectrum of potential issues. Consider breaking your personal injury law section into easily understandable subgroups, so users can find the relevant information they need quickly instead of poring over a long wall of text and content that does not address their needs.
Content is Still King
When it comes to content, the adage “content is king” still holds true for law firm websites. You want to establish your firm as an experienced, competent, and compassionate resource for visitors who may need an attorney in the very near future. One of the ways you can accomplish this is by featuring informative, engaging content created by your firm’s attorneys.
Most law firm websites have practice area pages that broadly touch on the most salient points in any particular area of law – see this as an opportunity to set yourself apart. Think about crafting FAQ or Q&A sections for little-known or confusing areas of law. You should also have a blog that you regularly update with engaging content, so visitors know you are in touch with your client base and abreast of recent developments in the legal world. Additionally, lawyers likely know the most common questions prospective clients ask about certain areas of the law, so filling your site’s static pages with this information shows visitors you know the law and have vast experience practicing it.
From a UX perspective, potential clients visiting your site want to find what they need quickly, and you want them to remember your firm after they have clicked away, or, preferably, you want them to contact you. Good content shows your potential clients that you’re committed to providing the people you serve with valuable resources and information to make their lives easier. Make sure your content is easily accessible, visually engaging, and backed by reliable data.
Convey Authority and Experience
UX is far more critical for law firm websites than you may have initially realised. When you take the time to assess your site’s UX and carefully hone it, you reflect your professionalism as an attorney and convey your value to potential clients. UX is constantly evolving, so it is important to check your website’s metrics regularly and see if the changes you make are generating the results you want.
Ultimately, you want the user to get in touch with your firm. Contact forms on your website should be as straightforward and easy to complete as possible. Even if you practice multiple areas of law, your contact information should be readily accessible, and your contact forms should be easy to submit. Update your site consistently with valuable content and always work toward making your UX as informative, relevant, and memorable as possible for your potential future clients.
(Lead image: AJEL – Creative Commons)