This is part two of a seven-part article on innovative law firm websites. Link to entire article below.
The most-popular social media sites offer users a “mash up” up different applications and a strong graphic navigation system. These elements are migrating to websites. So, too, are social media themselves.
Social media “buttons,” with links to the firm’s content on sites like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, should appear on every page. The firm should consistently post fresh content to these social media sites as well as the firm’s own website.
“Navigation, or how you get around on a law firm website, need not be limited to the usual navigation bar or internal links,” said Walsh. “Navigation presents a wonderful opportunity for creativity, especially when links are incorporated into graphics.
“In an illustration, for example, you can click on a graphic and be taken to more information about that subject,” said Walsh. “An industry page can present with a page-full of client logos. When you click on the logo, it revolves and the case story appears. The bio page can present with interesting pictures of lawyers. When you click on the picture, the bio appears or the lawyer steps forward and talks to you.”
Even Microsoft is betting on image-oriented navigation for its new operating system, Windows 8. Instead of the usual menu-based navigation, it is using clickable “live tiles” on the home page, which are not only links but also stream new information.
Also carried over from social media is an increased comfort with scrolling. Until now, web designers aimed at creating short pages that precluded the need to scroll. Because of social media, users are now much more comfortable using scrolling. This opens up new design opportunities.
“Finally, within the next 18 months, mobile devices will be used more often than computers to access the Internet,” said Walsh. “Law firms must create mobile versions of their websites with layouts that look equally good on smartphones and tablets.”