Behind the Curtain: Judging the Your Honor Awards

Take a Look at the Winners’ Websites

Winston & Strawn: http://www.winston.com

Boughton Law: http://www.boughtonlaw.com

Foley Hoag: http://www.foleyhoag.com

Kegler Brown Hill + Ritter: http://www.keglerbrown.com

By Jabez LeBret

The Your Honor Awards is an annual national award program recognizing excellence in legal marketing including social media, websites and more. Understanding the judging criteria for this awards program is valuable not only to those who were selected as finalists, but also to those who have submitted or are considering submitting an entry. Let’s take a peek behind the curtain of the judging process for the awards by examining one category: Best Total Website.

To be considered as a contender in the Best Total Website category, submitted sites had to go beyond satisfactory execution, such as having no homepage spelling errors or confusing navigation; it meant that the site was meeting current industry standards from a design and usability perspective.

As judges, we determined that the winners of this category should be websites that are ready to reach their clients on all mediums. This included having a mobile friendly website. With the expectation that mobile usage will surpass desktop usage within a year, it was surprising how many new law firm websites were not mobile ready.

Built with the user experience in mind, each of the winners displayed a professional appearance while simultaneously captivating the user. These websites should act as inspiration for your law firm’s next website redesign and your next YHA entry.

This year, Winston & Strawn (www.winston.com) won in this category and captured the coveted YHA Best in Show because its website was truly innovative, both in function and design, surpassing any website the judges had seen— legal or otherwise.  The user-website interaction on any size device, coupled with a user-specific experience, makes this website fun and easy to use. Lastly it aligned with their brand, culture and current client expectations.

Judging was tight for the second, third and honorable mention in the Total Website category. Each firm’s website had easy navigation, large, attractive images and intuitive designs. All the winners did an exceptional job of using images that speak to their client base.

From parallax design to large, bold images, each firm really highlighted their brand and messaging with images. This enhances the user experience while providing a sense for what each firm stands for.  

Simplicity is an effective design strategy to capture your user’s attention. Ease of navigation with big images and lots of color builds an environment where the user can get access to information without hassle.

Last but certainly not least, it is important to use your data to structure a website around user behavior. Once you know how users interact with your website highlight those areas within your design. That may be practice areas, blogs or individual lawyers within the firm.

Thinking about refreshing your website this year? Here are some trends we expect to see with websites in 2014: mobile is a must, big images, more parallax designs, video and increased social integration.

(By the way, if it has been longer than four years since you built your website, it may be overdue for a refresh!)

 

About the Author:

Jabez LeBret is a co-author of the best-selling legal marketing book, “Online Law Practice Strategies.” He is also co-founder of GNGF (http://www.gngf.com), a law firm digital marketing agency. You can follow him on Google+ at: https://plus.google.com/+JabezLeBret.

 

More YHA on the Way

LMA is working to make the Your Honor Awards more instructive, comprehensive and valuable to members everywhere. Soon, LMA leaders will share best practices for each YHA category. These best practices will be designed to provide clearer guidance to firms as they complete entries and make the entire judging process more transparent.

 

 

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