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Something for the weekend – lava lamp websites

Had an interesting exchange with a legal IT vendor about their new website. They asked me for their opinion about it. I told them. Turns out they didn't really want my opinion at all but just some gushing praise about its wonderfullness. It's not. The home page is like something from the bad old days of 1990s website design.

For example, they've got a mission statement on the first page that says customer care is central to everything and that they use the latest technologies and employ experienced developers. Well gosh, who'd have thought that?

At the same time this prominent piece of website real estate says nothing to differentiate the vendor from its competition. And it also says nothing to appeal to users and prospects. OK, I don't expect them to say they make kick-ass software that will help law firms make shed-loads of money and still have their clients foaming with pleasure but…

Oh yes, and given this is the year 2010, how come the only contact details on the home page are a telephone number? This is the digital age. There's a popular communications medium called email – why not have that up there in lights rather than make prospects have to click on a couple of more links to find it?

I was discussing this phenomenon – that the vendors of technology are frequently cobblers children who are very bad at exploiting these same technologies to their own internal benefit – when he jokingly suggested that maybe the vendor had deliberately opted for a retro look?

Fair enough – why don't they go one step further and put a lava lamp on the home page to get the full retro, kitsch effect?

We're happy to entertain your guesses as to who this vendor is – and we're also happy to receive your nominations for the worst legal IT vendor website. Maybe we'll give the winner a lava lamp. Maybe. Meanwhile, here's a short video clip of a lava lamp…

18 replies on “Something for the weekend – lava lamp websites”

In my opinion this is a non constructive comment because you only point out problems without having an alternative solution. It is very easy to destroy someone else's thoughts or beliefs, but if you can not offer any better solutions, then you should not type at all. It is like in life, don't criticize someone else's work unless you can offer a better solution.
Criticism is simply saying that the Company is doing poorly. Constructive criticism tells us how this Company is doing something wrong and how they can correct it. Only professional people will know what am I talking about.
My congratulations to the Company because this new website is well organised, simple to navigate and provides valuable, timely information to the user.

I thought Charles' comments about including an email address and replacing the corporate guff with something that outlined the benefits they could offer customers were constrictive suggestions?

Maybe a good guess would be Tikits new TFB website? Very retro indeed

Hmm, Charles not sure that I agree with you (but not so vehemently as “Anonymous” above, who I can believe is nothing but, how do we put it?, an “interested party”!).
Assuming you do mean tikittfb I quite like the design and don't think it's like the early '90's – for that you want to take a look at Cognito's . Yuck yuck yuck! I get the impression that theirs is not “retro” it's just never been redeveloped.
I guess maybe the tfb site is one of those that you either love or hate. Yep, it is missing some important info on the homepage, but it's got a nice clean look, not cluttered.
Your overall point though is spot-on: it is pretty amazing that as a general rule Legal IT vendors generally have bloody awful websites.
P.S. Fortunately I access your posts through a feedreader and comment only very rarely. I wouldn't want to suffer bleeding eyes too often 🙂
P.P.S. I'm not affiliated in any way with any of the above!

Surely you should be able to criticize if you are absolutely sure that the person or company dealing with a particular project has the knowledge/funds/ability to do things better? When you manage people you do not always need to know how to do the job but you do need to know the skills of those who do. Let's face it, this is a SOFTWARE company we are talking about and if they do not have the skills then….. Need I finish?

The colours are very 'Ryanair' maybe they're going down the budget route.

Come on guys, aren't you missing the point here? Just because the leader of the Orange cult has published his irrelevant musings (time to retire gracefully to the poetry) the usual anonymous bitterlings jump in with their snarling vitriol.
Isn't the quality of the offering more important than a brochureware website? In TFB's case I'm glad they spend more money and resource on their product than some Marketing agency. – something a few of you SOFTWARE companies might want to try!

For better or worse we've always tried to go with design first. Techies who make websites work are often crap at design. You don't have to spend gazillions. There's a small outfit called ummocrono we use who are top drawer. Ours is dead old now and the site content is not dynamic enough but we're fixing that with Fredrik's help. The design though still works for me.

Nothing fundamentally wrong with your site Andy, which just goes to prove what you said.

PS I would just add that I appreciate the LegalTechnology Insider & Orange Rag blog sites are starting to creak so I'm not holding them up as centres of excellence – at this very moment a team of surgeons are preparing a digital facelift …CC aka LORC (Leader Orange Rag Cult)

Welcome to the Andy and Daryl love blog. Tomorrow we will tell you how to look great in this seasons sandals and star trek tshirt mashup.

I've followed people's comments on the new website and thought I'd stick my oar in, seeing as how I'm supposed to know something about this 'ere web design lark. My comments :-
– no email address on the home page. Yep, faux pas, but easily rectified and let's face it, the “Contact Us” page is only one click away. Love the fact that they know they are a UK business, just plain old 01489, none of this fancy +44 1489 or worse +44 (0)489 malarky.
– slidey panel on the home page – very “of the moment” we are doing this on pretty much every site we design now. Do I believe that those two people on the “software solutions….” panel are “real clients”. No. Would have been better to have a single photo of one client, with their name underneath.
– Quick contact form – £5 bet offered to Mark Garnish that no more than one person a week bothers using that. I'm always going to want to ask some questions so are more likely to click on Contact Us and use the email address for a free form email.
– “Award winning panel….” yeah, but which year did you win it?
– no clue why Charles is making reference to a lava lamp, that's a real stretch for me.
– About Us – where are the implementation consultants? The people who DO the work. If I'd been recommended to look at PFW it would normally because I was impressed by the software but also perhaps cos the implementation consultant was bloody good and hey presto, I look at the website and he or she is nowhere to be seen…obviously not valued by their employer 🙂 !!!
– Site by Atelier Solutions??? Who cares, it's your website not there's. We never ask our clients for a link like that.
– News & Events on the home page. Good.
– Events sort order. Bad. Looks like it's alphabetical, not date in ascending order.
– Twitter on the home page. Good.
– Search box on the home page. Waste of time. Another £5 bet, NO-ONE will use it. You're not the BBC, your website does not have a gazillion pages. Lose it.
OK, that's all TikitTFB get for free, the rest will cost Mark G a good dinner.

If you saw the state of my feet you'd know you were guessing wrong with sandals.

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