LegalTech: Bolstering KM Through User Experience Design

The Advanced IT track at the LegalTech New York 2014 conference discussed the use of UX (user experience) design in law firms.

The panel included Andrew Baker, Director of Legal Technology Innovations Office at Seyfarth Shaw LLP, Tom Baldwin, Chief Knowledge Officer at Reed Smith LLP, Patrick DiDomenico, Director of Knowledge Management at  Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C., and Kate Simpson at Tangledom Inc.

Kate Simpson set the tone by discussing UX as a profession, a practice, and a process, explaining that it’s about people, not devices.  She mentioned Steve Krug’s “Don’t Make Me Think” which is one of my favorites in this arena.

Tom Baldwin discussed “Driving Adoption Through UI and Gamification” and talked about what new initiatives they’ve been developing at Reed Smith. The most interesting was the matter profiling app they designed which uses leaderboards spotlighting the top profilers as incentive.  They also improved upon their last app by illustrating that the user need only go through a 2-step process in order to successfully complete the matter profile.  By using this new reward system, they’ve seen an increase to 300 matters profiled per month over the 130 with the old app.  They’ve used leaderboards in their other custom applications as well as transforming their firm directory into a LinkedIn-like interface, and switched their display of financial reporting to using data visualizations for easier digestion.

Andrew Baker talked about what they’re doing at Seyfarth Shaw.  They’ve redesigned their intranet and extranets using UX design principles and practices such as color theory, wireframing, and card sorting to determine taxonomies.  They incorporated personalized branding in their extranets as well as photos of all the people involved in the projects.  They used responsive Web design to ensure a better mobile experience.

Patrick DiDomenico also discussed an intranet redesign at Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart. They set out to use UI principles to create an interface that was simple, free of clutter, and would be intuitive for the users, involving minimal training.  They completely rebranded their intranet utilizing a much cleaner design, lots of personalization options such as “My Clients”, “My Matters”, “My Statistics”, and “My Bonus Targets”.  They streamlined their menu system to just a “quick 6″ menu structure with child/sub-menus.  They spread the word and actively marketed their new intranet beginning weeks before launch by displaying teaser posters throughout the firm and leaking “top secret” advance access to influencers during the alpha stage of development.