Looking back through my iPad sketchbooks, I came across this sketch of what an online legal help portal might look like. It’s a topic I’ve been thinking about a lot — what the right kind of entry point might be for a lay person trying to figure out what their legal issue is and how to deal with with.
The main points I was trying to make with this sketch were:
- Putting a very human-friendly search as the priority entry point: just let the user type in what their issue is, and then have the site be smart enough to direct them to what the legal categorization of their problem is
- Having back-up common choices: for those who don’t want to search, or who are in a browsing mood, they can see some common legal categorizations to browse through and see if any of them sounds like a good fit for what’s going on in their life
- Official marker: to show trustworthiness and encourage engagement, put the official connection front and center on the page, as a badge that declares “you, casual Internet browser, can trust this site! We are not trying to sell you anything, and we are official experts on the law”. This is what Internet-browsers want to see when they’re sizing up legal info sites.
- Upon search, visual card glimpses into resources: rather than show a straight text list, show search query results in distinct cards, that have a straightforward visual, a headline, and a glimpse into the content that awaits upon a click. For a person who doesn’t know exactly what legal terrain they’re in, the cards give them some quick glances at what might apply to them. The visitor can look through them before deciding which to click open & pursue.