Flawed Design Aspects
What Makes Law Firm Sites Less-than-perfect?
There are some great law firm website designs these days. Many of them are nice – and even inspirational – to look at. However, none of them are perfect. They all have at least one noticeable flaw, even if they were created by well-known designers.
Noticeably narrow format
Any website with a 1024-pixel width is very outdated. This might have been nice looking a few years ago, but not anymore. Even laptops have higher resolution displays these days. It’s not uncommon to see laptops with 1900+ pixel widths. On newer PCs, the 1024-pixel width designs look small, even if the colours, content, and graphics look perfect.
The best design in 2015 is one that is responsive and adapts to the size of the screen, whether it’s being displayed on a mobile phone screen or large PC monitor.
The use of free or cheap stock photos is a bad idea for any website that is trying to appear professional. Metaphorical photos are bad ideas as well. An example of this would be to put up a picture of a chess board under a headline bragging about the law firm’s “strategic approach”. This is a lazy design element and should never be used.
Why not just use photos of the law firm and the lawyers themselves? It’s more honest and less tacky if the right pictures are used. The images should be used to convey the lawyers’ personalities. They should NOT be standard yearbook-type pictures, or cheap looking portraits that look like they were shot at a department store. They should be high-quality images with good lighting that reveal a bit of the lawyer’s personality.
It isn’t clear why the homepage carousel design is so popular, considering that most users find them annoying. According to a Swedish usability study, a static image on a webpage got clicked by more than 40% of visitors. An auto-rotating carousel on that same page only got clicked by 1.96% of visitors.
This type of design is an indication that the law firm doesn’t know which message to convey. Instead of settling on one, clear message, they try several. All this does is make the web page look more crowded, even if the carousel itself is designed well. Throwing too much at the user at once will only make them feel overwhelmed.
Outdated “mobi” design
Mobi sites were popular seven or so years ago when businesses wanted smart phone users to be able to visit their sites. The problem with mobi sites these days is that they do not accommodate all screen sizes. Smart phones aren’t the only mobile devices people use now to get on the internet – tablets are as well. A law firm site with a “mobi” design might not display properly on tablets, if they even display at all.
The solution is to use a responsive design. It’s not easy to do, but it’s well worth the time and effort. A website should be made to accommodate all displays on all devices.