Both my Mac laptop and iPhone were updated this week. Love it when they release new stuff! The enhancements weren't really anything I was really excited about, but keeping up-to-date with data security, device longevity, and the overall UI/UX (user interface and user experience) are really important.
Naturally, as a legal technology provider, our thoughts turned to what we do on the DAILY. And yes, I mean daily. We, like other legal tech providers, have a team of professionals who dedicate their time, experience, expertise, and passion in to delivering the best legal tech platform we can. And yes, we roll out enhancements fairly regularly. But the biggest enhancement is around the user.
The user interface is simply how the capabilities of the code are presented to the user. It's how the individual accesses and utilizes the technology. A great example is something as simple as a 'submit' button. Should it be round or rectangle? Long or short? And of course, what color? That's a pretty basic example, but you get the idea.
An up and coming major for college students these days is Human-Computer Interaction, or HCI. Yes, it's an entire field of study. It takes both from the psychological and technological perspective. And that's where the conversation gets particularly interesting.
How do you interact with your data? Is it intuitive? Is it easy to find 'stuff'? Both from how far you have to move your mouse from one function to the next as well as how easy it is to find the information you want. Each law firm is unique, no doubt. But we are all in the same in that the ease of using the software is critical. My husband is actually a highly-skilled technologist. He writes code that does truly amazing stuff. Really. And to quote him, even if it's free, no one will software that is difficult to use. No matter how good it is, how great the capabilities are, if it's hard to use, people move to the next option.
So yes, the User Interface is key. And these days, designs lean to the more simple. Streamline the interface. Make it easy or even better, make it customizable.
The user experience includes the interface, but goes beyond it. For cloud-based software, like SimpleLaw, you don't need to do any updating. The platform is updated by us and we let you know when it's coming, what the enhancements are, and what you will see when you next log in. You don't need to download a file and upgrade the software on your device. That's one of the benefits of cloud-based software, but I digress.
So the user experience includes the interface, the maintenance (or lack thereof), the portability, and even if it's fun to use. For a full list, check out this article. This is really where the discussion begins for branding, if things are 'findable', and useful. Branding is kind of obvious in that your software should reinforce the brand. In our case, it IS our brand.
Ensuring our platform is delivering on useful is at the top of our list. We built the entire platform on the premise of making it more simple for clients to find attorneys, for attorneys to spend more time practicing law versus managing the business, and overall, easing the delivery of legal services. We stay true to that idea and it drives us in everything we do. In fact, we have some great enhancements coming out in the very near future that double down on useful. But we are picky. We don't add just to add. After a while, the user interface gets clogged up with that approach.
As attorneys, think about your user interface and experience. Do your clients have access to their matter? Can they log in to their portal to check on the status of their matter, review invoices, submit questions, make payments, and more? Maybe even more importantly, can you?
Legal technology is not an end to itself. To make sure it's really helping the firm, not just ticking something off the list, focus on the user experience. Is yours good? Is your clients' good? Is your legal tech giving you more time to practice law?
If not, sign up for a demo today.