How to shorten working time for attorneys? – Redesign an application for attorneys in 3 weeks’ time
Facilitating the work of attorneys and increase their efficiency – this was the idea behind the tool we developed for out client. How to improve it and make it more useful? That was our challenge. You can read all about how we changed the working days of attorneys in Great Britain in our app redesign case study.
The context of the project
In August 2018 we were contacted by the client – a team of attorneys based in Great Britain which was developing an app the objective of which was to facilitate the work of the attorneys, increase their efficiency and accuracy. The objective of our cooperation was to verify the usefulness of the tool in everyday work of the attorneys and to redesign it in order to render it as useful as possible.
The law in Anglo-Saxon countries is significantly different from Polish law. The legal system in Great Britain is based, among others, on the so-called case-law (common law), relying on rulings issued in previous court cases.
This system forces the attorneys to work with lengthy documents in which legal terms and various definitions are usually placed at the beginning or at the end of the text. Attorneys working with such documents must return to the definition section from time to time in order to check if given definition is compliant with the rest of the text.
The purpose of the system constructed by our client was to make it easier for the attorneys to work with such long documents in such a way that person reading given provision of law never misses it’s context and can review and change definitions it includes.
We have divided the work process into 3 sprints (3 weeks), with two people working in each stage of the project.
Sprint 1: UX research and usability testing – we get to know the client’s business and recipients of his services
The purpose of the first sprint was to get familiar with the tool and obtain as much information as possible in the client’s idea, as well as to examine the needs of the target group, which involved, in particular:
- Determining typical day in an attorney’s life
- Getting to know the process of working with documents and problems encountered by users on the way
- Determining habits associated with current methods of solving those problems
- Checking how the target group reacts to the idea behind the tool and if it sees the potential of using the app it daily work
- Verifying the suability of current version of the tool
Interviewing the client – gathering information on the client’s idea
We started to work on the project by interviewing the client in order to collect information on the tool. The purpose of the interviews was to obtain the following information:
- What is the motivation behind the project?
- What is it’s goal?
- What does the client seek to achieve with the app?
- What does the entire project team look like?
- Who belongs to the target group?
- Which user problem is the app supposed to solve?
We also sought to get familiar with the tool and test it for working with documents worked on by the attorneys in order to know the mechanism behind the app, and also initially mark the areas which might be confusing for the users.
Interviewing the target group combined with usability testing of the first version of the app
After interviewing the client and initial tests we have started to prepare for a users’ quality test (individual interviews via Skype), combined with usability test of current version of the tool.
Individual interviews allow to quickly collect information on the target group, know the recipient, his needs and problems to be solved by the tool. In our case we have combined them with usability tests. We wanted to not only verify if given problem actually exists, but also if our tool can already solve it and what changes it still requires.
In the first place, we wanted to learn how the users understand the app, in particular:
- How they react to the proposed solution,
- What they like about the current version of the tool,
- What problems they encounter when using the tool,
- What functions they are missing.
Sprint 2: The analysis of UX research results – what information we have managed to get
The second sprint was entirely devoted to the analysis of collected materials and to drawing most important conclusions.
The information gathered showed us that around 80% of daily work of an attorney consists in preparing, verifying and amending documents.
The main problem they encountered while working with long texts was to check them for definitions – verifying if a given definition in the text is compliant with the definition provided at the beginning or at the end of the document.
We have also learnt how the attorneys dealt with this problem:
- By using two screens or splitting screens – while one of the screens would always show the beginning of the document featuring the definitions, the second one was used for current work on the document
- By printing the entire document – our respondents very often printed the entire document or the definition section in order to be able to refer back to it on an ongoing basis
- By using ctrl+F – the attorneys searched specified terms by using keyboard shortcuts
We rendered an image of a typical day of an attorney by using User Journey Map (a tool used for describing the path of using given product/service) and focused on the phased which we dubbed as active – when the attorney does not participate in meetings or hearings, but only directly works with documents, reads and answers e-mails.
By showing the tool t our target group we could confirm that the app can help them in their everyday work and solve their problems and frustrations. We have also became aware that the tool needs introducing some changes and improving its usability, since we came across some situations which the users could not handle by themselves.
As a result of conducted research, two personas were created, the problems of which we wanted to solve with the use of our client’s tool:
- Josh – an experienced attorney, a multitasking analyst who needs tools allowing him to maximize his pace of work
- Samantha – collected, well-organized attorney, who wants to be able to prepare documents without making any mistakes.
Sprint 3: UX design – the prototype of the new version of the app, i.e. how we used this information
After the analysis stage we have commenced to construct a prototype using lean methodology (quickly, experimentally, constantly in touch with all the people engaged in the project), based on the tool provided by the client. We have consulted each idea, cooperating closely with the client, the developers and the users.
We have finished our work by providing the client with the complete prototype (32 screens), ready for implementation. Even after our cooperation has officially ended, we remained at the disposal of the development team and we have been consulting all the changes on an ongoing basis.
Summary of the Project – in numbers and else
hrs of consultations
What happens to the app? We have received an information that the development team has finished working on the tool and the app is currently being implemented in of the law firms in Great Britain.
Here is what the client had to say about our cooperation:
“Let’s say you need creativity when developing a legal technological product, since the majority of attorneys is not proficient with technology and does not trust technological products. When designing Define we wanted to make sure that a diversified team of attorneys can assist us to create a user interface and UX. Project: People went beyond making sure that we have successfully designed out product and we are looking forward to working together again.”
Tools used in the project
- User Journey Map – a tool used to configure the user’s path, mark his frustrations and problems during interaction with a given system / performing given tasks
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