From 'scary lawyers' to 'approachable law' - Consumer Intelligence Insight 2020
In 2018, we started designing a LawTech solution alongside our national legal consumer research where we consulted and worked with consumers and small businesses to understand their needs, expectations and requirements. Here's some insight into what we did, how we did it and what we learnt.
When you consider designing a solution you first need to understand what its purpose is and what users want access to; otherwise you have a well-designed application for you but not your end-users. This is why we started our application design six-months after the start of our consumer research, we first needed to understand the pain-points that consumers suffered when dealing with legal problems and how these points could be alleviated.
Incorporated into our consumer research was to survey and poll versions of legal support to understand what types of support are most desired and valued; such as legal advice, online portals, legal forms and templates documents. This informed our design approach and set our focus on outcomes we need to achieve, then we needed to look at how we deliver and reach those outcomes.
Our research team then surveyed and polled consumers on the medium they preferred to use for procuring the legal support that was most desired, this was overwhelmingly in favour of a mobile-based application oppose to a desktop one. We also looked at the capabilities of consumers in self-determining their legal problems, including using the pre-existing research base available prior to September 2019. This indicated a need and demand for greater support in identifying a legal problem and practically achieving a desired result.
Now we have an idea of what our anticipated end-users needs and demands are, prototyping and designing can begin. Critically, with a broad and open-minded approach.
Below, we take you through the design phases and comparative examples of how the L.U.E Legal Checker App went from 'scary lawyers' to 'approachable law'.
Design Phase Cycle
The design cycle was carried out during the course of phase 2 of our consumer research after generating six-months of insights to consumer legal problems. Our consumer research continued for a further 9-months, which incorporated the design and prototype consultations/sessions.
Phase 1 - Bronze Iteration
We start with the bronze design aimed at generating opinion, sentiment and comment on the usability, purpose, content and messaging. We provided a range of 2D framed designs to 500 consumer participants during this phase and collected the feedback to provide direction on:
what needed to be improved
what was missing
what didn't meet expectations
what purpose did assets (images, icons, text, functions) play (or not play) to achieve the objective.
Phase 2 - Gold Iteration
Taking feedback onboard from Phase 1, another design was created to provide more colour to the application demonstrating a need to be more approachable and less bland. In addition, more structure to the design with clear lines and segmentation of the screen assets, as well as interactive messaging with a sliding icon and text was used to direct users to the applications objective (to express, identify and help resolve legal problems). This phase included 600 consumer participants.
Phase 3 - Beta Iteration
This design was tested alongside the Gold Iteration, the reason for this was a recognition of a need to provide more than one design option for consumers to view and provide feedback on. The provision of both these designs to 480 consumer participants in this phase resulted in a number of valuable opinions and comments that led to the Alpha Iteration, critically removing the logo and re-designing it, as well as taking a minimalist approach to reduce risk of confusion amongst users.
Phase 4 - Alpha Iteration
At this phase, the design team realised we were closer to a prototype design (one that could be used with mock screen functionality enabled). The inclusion of a new, vibrant logo and mission statement to reassure users generated greater positive feedback and users identified with the applications purpose for the first time.
We continued the use of a bright, vibrant aqua blue with the button options and revisited the use of icon images. This phase included 100 consumer participants.
Phase 5 - Alpha Iteration 1.0
The next alpha iteration optimised the phase 4 design but opted to remove the icon images in the centre of the screen previously used. This version was used for prototyping to gain feedback and understand user flow/behaviour when using and interpreting the application. The prototype was provided to 75 consumer participants in this phase.
Phase 6 - Alpha Iteration 2.0
Alpha 2 is the latest phase of the design cycle and the shipped application design. The application reduced the emphasis on the logo icon and text to highlight the button options. The button designs were amended to notify the user of a difference in purpose between the two. This phase included 245 consumer participants.
Comparative Examples - Phase 2 to Phase 6
Results: The results page was designed to provide insight to the outcome of the use of the legal checker function to develop transparency and inform users.
Phase 2 - Design
The design was more commercially minded than consumer-orientated, consumer feedback indicated that the information and visuals displayed failed to convey any meaning and lacked any practical value.
Phase 6 - Design
Taking onboard consumer feedback, we re-adjusted to the desire and needs of consumers. This provided a complete re-think and re-deign to include access to outcomes, as well as access to submitted content to remind the user of their submission, when they made the submission and what the outcome was.
The result page also includes a filter which was developed from business user feedback to organise results on their outcome.
Machine Learning: This screen design is one example of "compliance by design" to include a notice to users unfamiliar with machine learning that we use this technology, what it is, how we use it and why.
Phase 6 - Beta / Machine Learning Screen.
Phase 6 - Machine Learning Pop-Up
This insight is one of many from our published study which consisted of Legal Utopia collaborating and consulting with a total of 12 organisations (including 5 international law firms, 1 banking institution, and two UK regulators) and engaged with over 142 industry stakeholders. The project, over its 15-month duration, included 75 team members, undertook a total of 18,347 research interviews, 151,221 manual file reviews and included 27,817 research participant responses to a total of 28 lines of enquiry, market research and consumer consultations.
You can download a copy of the full study here.
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