A few weeks ago, we looked at a law firm app that was so good that we didn’t recognise it as a law firm app. Now we’re looking at a law firm website – that only went live in early April – that is so good, that it too doesn’t look like a typical law firm site. The firm is the Samuel Phillips Law Firm, based in Newcastle-upon-Tyne – www.samuelphillips.co.uk – and the overall feel is that of a services organisation, not a traditional law firm. For example, the home page is very much a ‘call to action’ rather than a snoozefest profile of the firm and how worthy its partners are.
The website project was led by the firm’s CEO David Laud, working in conjunction with the North-Eastern design agency MAADigital, so we asked MAAD’s managing director Colin Kelly what was it like working with a law firm and how did he tackle the ‘herding cats’ phenomenon of dealing with partners.
Kelly said his agency typically handles branding/marketing/product-related work and that Samuel Phillips was the first law firm they had ever worked for. However, as they had had some previous dealings with the firm, they were invited to pitch for the redesign/revamp project. And they won it!
MAAD’s approach is that they have certain core principles they always like to follow in a design project “so the key is finding the right client,” says Kelly. “They have to be open-minded, willing to accept to new ideas and have faith in our methods.”
As to the design principles involved, MAAD has used fonts to help guide a visitor through the different sections on the site, rather than stock images. (Similarly they use pictures of real people, not models from central casting.) The site also has a fluid, responsive design, so it automatically adjusts to accommodate viewing from mobile, tablet and desktop devices. And it is linked to a content management system – but one that the firm can use, so they can do their own updates.
“Above all,” says Kelly, “we designed a site that removes any barriers-to-trial,” so users can find all the information they are looking for from the home page, rather than having to dig down through endless menus and sub-menus.