Desktop & Mobile
ROLE: member of three-person UX research & design team
DURATION: 3 weeks
GOAL: creating detailed user personas and redesigning the law firm website templates used by Lawfty's partner firms, with the goal of improving the ratio of relevant-to-irrelevant conversions
TOOLS: Sketch3, InVision, POP, Google Analytics
METHODS: competitive & comparative analysis; user surveys & interviews; data analysis; persona & scenario development; information architecture; rapid prototyping & iterating; usability testing
DELIVERABLES: detailed user personas, annotated low-fidelity wireframes, and clickable prototypes
How to improve overall experience and increase relevant conversions
In this collaborative student project, we worked with Lawfty, a legal case generator that uses search engine marketing to connect potential plaintiffs with personal injury law firms across the country. Our initial goal was to develop multiple user personas to help Lawfty better understand their end users and to redesign the desktop and mobile website templates used by Lawfty's partner firms. As our work progressed, we recognized the need to dramatically improve the ratio of relevant-to-irrelevant conversions (which would provide a benefit to both Lawfty and the end user), and we emphasized this strategic goal in the designs and recommendations we submitted.
Engaging the user in determining Case relevance
Upon identifying our goal of improving the relevant conversion ratio in our template redesign, our team determined that attempting to merely educate the end user about personal injury law would be insufficient. Many current users will skip past most text appearing on the clients' home pages and initiate contact with the firm as quickly as possible. We recognized that we needed to engage the user directly in determining whether or not his or her case was relevant. Our final designs and proposals prominently featured a brief questionnaire that would filter out a large number of irrelevant conversions before they initiated a call, chat, or form submission to contact Lawfty or their partner firms.
Offering the user an overview of the process
Our research indicated that most users arriving at Lawfty's sites have not conducted a thorough search, comparing numerous firms against one another. Most are also unable to turn to personal networks to receive a word-of-mouth referral. Rather, most end users are looking for the first firm that is able to take their case. As a result, our team recommended that Lawfty emphasize the sections of their clients' sites that most directly address the plaintiff's practical and logistical concerns. Rather than dedicating large sections of the home page to attorney biographies and credentials, we have shifted this content to secondary pages. In place of this content, we have added a step-by-step overview of the process that the plaintiff can expect.
Research & Conceptualization
CLIENT INTERVIEW RESULTS
A series of meetings with Lawfty's senior partners clarified how they connect users with their partner firms, beyond the site templates that they provide. With the AdWords purchased on Google, Lawfty deliberately casts as wide a net as possible. Yet according to the attorney at a partner firm whom we spoke with, almost all of the cases that Lawfty's referred to the firm have been signed as clients. This clearly suggests that Lawfty's existing practices have been successful at filtering out users without relevant cases. However, this need to determine the relevance of a user's case creates a significant burden on Lawfty, which our team hoped to minimize through our template design proposals.
These meetings also provided tremendous value in our efforts to understand Lawfty's typical end users, the potential plaintiffs seeking legal help. The team at Lawfty made clear that many of their users are under the impression that all lawyers cover all case types. These users aren’t shopping for the best attorney, just the first one they can find. Many of these users scan rather than fully reading site content and will often contact the firm even before scrolling below the fold. We hypothesized that this typical user behavior would strongly correlate with the high number of irrelevant conversions that Lawfty experiences. If we could improve the way that these users interact with Lawfty's sites, we could help Lawfty more efficiently refer users to their partner firms.
Our analysis of Lawfty's client data in Google Analytics confirmed the need to dramatically improve the ratio of relevant-to-irrelevant conversions. All users who initiate a call, chat, or form submission are considered conversions, but more than 90% of these users do not have a case that could be handled by Lawfty's partner firms.
Our team listened to dozens of calls recorded by Lawfty's intake specialists at their call centers. Most callers' cases were irrelevant, but these recordings offered tremendous value in our efforts to identify user goals, concerns, and pain points. We also recognized a consistent tone of respect, understanding, and empathy on the part of the intake specialists at Lawfty's call centers, which we sought to emulate in our site designs.
Our client also provided video recordings that tracked the mouse movement of end users interacting with Lawfty's existing sites. As a pop-up would prompt the user to initiate a chat after five or ten seconds, the vast majority of these users would follow through and begin this chat without having scrolled down below the fold. Although this pop-up would be valuable for increasing conversions, we hypothesized that this might account for a large number of the irrelevant conversions that Lawfty experiences. We recommended disabling the pop-up and allowing the user to engage with the questionnaire funnel, as this would very likely improve the relevant conversion ratio.
Recognizing Four Pillars
Our research and analysis pointed toward four major areas of concern that would need to be addressed in our final designs.
Trust: Is the end user in good hands? Can one rely on the firm to act in his or her best interests?
Money: Is the consultation truly free? What does it mean to work on a contingency basis? How should one handle expenses related to my injury?
Process: How long and complicated will this legal process be? When can one expect his or her case to be resolved? How likely is victory?
Logistics: What kind of time commitment will be required of the plaintiff? Where is the firm located? Where and how often will one need to meet with his or her attorney?
Our team distilled the research and analysis that we'd conducted into four detailed user personas. In creating these, we sought to reflect the full range of user goals and concerns, demographic data, and mode of interacting with Lawfty and their clients that we had observed. These personas would prove valuable both in guiding our own design decisions and as the basis for design decisions to be made beyond the conclusion of the project.
Although it extended beyond the scope of our project, we recommended that Lawfty develop personas for their partner firms, as types of personal injury cases handled most often by one firm might vary considerably from those handled by another. This would prove increasingly valuable in the months and years to come, as Lawfty aims to continue adding partner firms across the country and to triple the cases they refer to their clients.
As we began creating UI sketches, we quickly determined that Lawfty's current practice of housing all content on one continuously scrolling page might need to be reassessed. As our goal was to feature as prominently as possible thosesections of most immediate value to the user. In addition to the calls-to-action to contact Lawfty and their clients, the questionnaire funnel and step-by-step process overview most directly addressed the user concerns and pain points that we had observed in our research. As a result, sections detailing common types of personal injury cases, attorney biographies and credentials, recent victories, and client testimonials were shifted to secondary pages.
With the goal of iterating and refining our designs as quickly and efficiently as possible, we used prototype-on-paper (POP) to conduct several rounds of usability testing well before completing our digital wireframes. With this testing, we confirmed that a brief series of straightforward questions could engage the end user in determining whether he or she had a relevant personal injury case that could be handles by Lawfty's partner firms.
SELECTED DESKTOP Wireframes
CLICKABLE MOBILE PROTOTYPE
At the time of this writing, our client is implementing the designs we submitted; the redesigned site should be live within the next few weeks. Our team proposed that Lawfty conduct A/B testing to confirm that the questionnaire funnel is successful in reducing irrelevant conversions. Success metrics should soon be available, and will be regularly updated as information becomes available.