Six years ago, Duo built a new website for a leading law and government relations firm that primarily serves the high technology industry.
The site was built on Drupal 6, and it gave the firm what they were looking for at the time. But as time passed, and their needs changed. We’ve done iterative enhancements for them over the years, but recently they approached us looking for more than a touch up. The firm was going through some internal reorganization, and they wanted a completely rebranded site built with Drupal 8. They were looking for new functionalities, a modern look, and easier usability on both the front end and back end of the site.
I’m proud to say what we delivered did all that, and more.
Not only were we able to provide what they wanted, but we also leveraged Drupal’s flexibility to improve workflow and save the firm time and money. Some of the changes were easy and intuitive, while others were more complex and required a deep understanding of Drupal integrations.
Here are eight changes we made that we’re particularly proud of:
- Built proposal and profile generator
My colleagues at Duo were really excited about this integration. As you can imagine, law firms need to create proposals and share attorney profiles with potential clients or others in the industry quite frequently. And that takes time, particularly when your firm has approximately 500 attorneys. Well, we found a way to drastically save time and improve the process.
On their new website, internal staff and administrators are able to take website data to generate both proposals and profiles. By using a pre-designed template, the employee can take the HTML content of a website page, run it through the generator we provided and receive, a branded, formatted Microsoft Word document.
Let’s look at an example. Say I wanted to generate an tech proposal for a business in the valley. I could grab the content from the website’s industry page, the specific service page, the bios of the 12 attorneys who specialize in that service and add a location, then plug that content into the generator and I would have a proposal that would be ready to send off to the business. This will be an enormous time saver for the organization.
- Integrated with Human Resources system
At Duo, we’ve seen this problem come up for dozens of businesses. An employee leaves the company, but somehow their profile page doesn’t get removed from the website until months later. Or vice versa, a company brings in a new employee, but there’s no presence of that person on the company website. This is a challenge law firms frequently face, so the question is, what’s the solution.
We were able to integrate the firm’s website directly with its human relations (HR) system. The firm’s HR team is already making these updates in their system, so why should someone else have to recreate the wheel? This way, when a new hire is added into the HR system, they’re added onto the website as well.
An additional perk of this arrangement is that the website can dynamically pull in an attorney’s hourly rate and insert it into the proposal document mentioned above.
- Pulled in news feeds on key topics and attorneys
Similarly, we enabled the site to automatically collect news stories related to either specific services offered. Every two hours, the module we used scans the Internet based on certain criteria and a cluster of keywords provided and pulls relevant news articles directly into the site. So rather than needing someone to create a new web page that links to an outside story about someone or something at the firm, that can now be done automatically.
What these last two improvements do is make life a lot easier for the marketing and business development teams. Those team members can focus on generating unique content or maximizing the site in other ways without getting bogged down by needing to add a new person’s bio to the website.
- Emphasis on industries as well as practices
We helped them reorganize its content and website from being focused solely on practice groups to highlighting industries and practice groups. They selected three industries to highlight: solar, financial services and technology. Each one of those industries is an umbrella for the practice groups, so if you go to an industry page, you’ll see all of its related practice groups. Similarly, if you go to a practice group page, you’ll be able to get information about the overarching industry.
This presentation enabled us to present as much pertinent information to the user as possible. The firm is no longer relying on the user to take one path to get information; no matter what path the user takes, they’ll be able to see the relevant content they’re looking for.
- Integration with representative matters
For lawyers, one of the most important things you can highlight are the cases or deals you’ve been with. Frequently called “representative matters” in the legal arena, this list documents your case results. A lot of law firms can’t always use their client’s name, so they need to find new ways to describe or refer to them. We came up with a strategy of how to integrate representative matters and migrate them — more than 10,000 of them — into the individual attorney pages within the new website.
- Custom landing pages
Drupal’s Paragraphs module is great for building custom landing pages and microsites, and we made sure to give provide that option. The firm wanted to showcase different brand-validating sections of the site like diversity and inclusion, community involvement and women’s network, and now they are able to do just that.
- Massive content migration
Rather than have to start from scratch or duplicate all the existing content from the old site, we were able to migrate all the information about every attorney, the firms’ news and press releases, blog posts and awards from Drupal 6 into Drupal 8. It ended up being close to 20,000 pieces of content that were migrated.
One thing we were mindful of during the migration was that they were in the process of restructuring how they wanted to promote their services. An attorney, for example, could be associated with a litigation practice group or an industry, like banking or finance. Some of the practice groups and industries changed or evolved, though, and that meant we needed to make sure all the content ended up where it was supposed to be in its new, or adjusted categories.
- Modern, responsive design
Their previous site was not responsive, so this one should be fairly obvious. It’s 2017, and you should have a website that is responsive so that users can easily engage with it on mobile phones or tablets. After all, October 2016 saw more people worldwide view Internet pages on mobile than on desktop computers for the first time ever. That trend, according to StatCounter, has held true since, and the gap between the two is widening.
This project took a lot of time and energy from colleagues across the Duo team, but we’re excited with the results.
We hope they are too.