Archive for June, 2008
It was recently pointed out that I neglected to mention the word “library” or “librarian” at all during the content and staffing sections of our recent webinar on intranet design. Honestly, I can’t believe I did that. What a slip-up for someone who works daily with librarians! I guess I just take their involvement as something so central, that I forget that others may not. Let me attempt to redeem myself…
The firm librarian or library department should be involved in developing and choosing the content of your intranet. Their interaction with practices, administration and all levels of staff provide them a unique take on how the firm works and how information flows through the firm. They also have a lot to add around the topics of categorization, taxonomy, and content organization.
As for interface design and functionality, they work with web sites and services heavily and have skills in the evaluation of web services for content and usability. Get them involved early and you may be surprised at the benefits they can bring to your project.
Finally, as for intranet staffing and project team membership, librarians can be your allies in many respects. Part of a law firm librarian’s job is to foster relationships with partners, associates and new lawyers surrounding resources and library services training. If you also have them heavily involved in your intranet (whether on the governance board, steering committee, project team, or some other way), guess what else they’re going to talk to those associates and new lawyers about? That’s right – using the intranet!
No matter how you get them involved, your firm library can definitely add a lot to your intranet project. Don’t make the same mistake as I did in my presentation and leave them out! You might not realize it right away, but you will probably regret it.
We just finished presenting the second webinar in a five-part series on Creating a Successful Law Firm Intranet. This time the topic was intranet design, and we included the five areas of intranet design as well as a law firm case study. My part of the presentation focused on requirements, project plans, and staffing. Laurie Southerton talked about architecture and visual design. Meredith Williams gave us an inside look at the design process within her firm, Baker Donelson. Add that all together, and the session was jam-packed with great information!
In fact, one question we couldn’t get to during the presentation was directed at Laurie, and I’ve provided her answer below.
Question: Where can I find more information or references about visual design?
Laurie’s answer: This is the part of designing an intranet that people like best and usually have a very strong opinion about what it should look like. Working with a good visual designer (whether from your in-house team or with a contract designer) can make a difference between a blah site and a great site.
My favorite book to use with management and teams is a short, simple, easy-to-read book by author Steven Krug – Don’t Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability.” It has a great chapter on “Design 101,” and one on “Desinging the Home Page.”
I also recommend the following links for more information about visual design:
- http://webstyleguide.com – online and available in book format. One of the best references for web design I have found.
- http://www.useit.com/books/visualbooks.html – list of books recommended by Jakob Nielsen, web usability guru.
- http://www.lukew.com/resources/links_visual.html – Another good list of books recommended by Luke Wroblewski, a renowned web interface designer.
Thanks for the tips, Laurie!
More information will be posted soon about registration for the next sessions in our Creating a Successful Law Firm Intranet series: develop, rollout, and maintain/measure. Stay tuned!
You are invited to attend the second webinar in a five-part series hosted by Nina Platt Consulting, Inc. and Southerton Consulting, and sponsored by SydneyPLUS & LawPort, titled Creating the Successful Law Firm Intranet: Intranet design is more than just words and colors. The session will be held on Wednesday, June 25 Noon -1:00 PM Central Time. You may also register for the series of webinars 2-5 (Design, Develop, Rollout, Measure/Maintain).
In the second session on design you will learn:
- The five areas of intranet design
- How to use design to plan, prioritize, and budget your project
- What role your users play in designing your intranet
You might ask, What is a successful law firm intranet? An intranet should be a business productivity tool. An intranet’s success is measured by the increased efficiency of the lawyers and staff who use it. Building a successful intranet involves having a good strategy, a realistic plan and involving users in every step of the process. A successful intranet begins with effectively following a five-step process: Research, Design, Develop, Rollout and Measure.
We hope to have you join us for this informative session.