“Don’t judge a book by its cover.”
We hear it all the time. We’re often told not to presume the value of something based on its outward appearance. It’s a nice sentiment, but ask a number of social scientists, and they’ll tell you: there’s a biological foundation for judgment based on looks. Whether we recognize it or not, we make snap judgments about appearance all the time.
In the digital age, one place we make spontaneous decisions about looks is website design. If the saying is true that you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression, then this piece of information is crucial for attorneys. A great lawyer with a mediocre website is doing themselves a major disservice.
So then, why is website design so important for your law office? Websites are one of the first ways a potential new client finds and evaluates their legal representation. Therefore, users expect websites to revolve around responsive design.
What do we mean by responsive design? Think of it as the shape shifter archetype in movies and comic books. Much like a superhero who can morph at will to meet the needs of a situation, a responsively designed website works effortlessly across devices and provides users with an enjoyable experience — one free from the need to resize or scroll excessively, as well as offering users rich, easy-to-read content.
The advent of smartphones and tablets means that more people surf the web from multiple devices than ever before. While recent studies suggest that sales of tablets have slowed in the last year, it’s not necessarily because people are using them less – in fact, it’s more likely that newer tablets are simply more robust than their predecessors. Furthermore, software updates keep these items up-to-date, virtually eliminating planned obsolescence.
Therefore, not only should clients be impressed by the layout and ease of use of when they visit your site from their desktop or laptop, but should be equally dazzled when the access your site from a tablet or smartphone.
Users expect a seamless transition between devices when they’re looking at your site. If your site looks great on a laptop but is glitchy or hard to use elsewhere, users will quickly grow frustrated – and that means lost business for you. Having a website that meets the instinctual needs of tech users across multiple devices puts you in the driver’s seat and ahead of your competition.
However, a well-designed user experience without rich, meaningful content won’t do much to drive your business. The intersection of great content that educates users and their experience navigating your site is what will boost traffic and ensure repeat visits in search of your expertise.
It’s in our nature to make snap judgments. But with responsive design, you’ll have the freedom to control and build your online web presence with peace of mind that your website is the sort of first impression that you want to make.