One of the biggest problems facing legal departments today is the usability of legal spend management software in terms of implementation, installation, and user complexity. The typical users of legal management software are attorneys and paralegals who are very busy and don’t have time to learn a new technology. If the software is not intuitive, users simply won’t use it. As a result, increasing user adoption was the high on the agenda as Datacert began consolidating their portfolio of legal matter and spend management applications on to a common platform.
Understanding user needs
To develop the most intuitive interface possible, Datacert turned to Macadamian for guidance on how to better understand the goals and the tasks of their product’s end users. “As we began to develop the product, we reached out to existing clients who were willing to act as development partners,” explains Diana Massaro, VP Marketing at Datacert. “Through user experience research and usability testing, Macadamian interviewed ten to twelve intended users at each company to understand the work they performed and to better understand how they would interact with the software.”
Macadamian developed usage scenarios and user personas that modeled “a day in the life” of a typical user, focusing on user goals, motivations, and behaviors. These scenarios guided the development of an information architecture and a prototype made up of a series of product wireframes.
Mapping the end user journey
Using the wireframes as a low-fidelity prototype of the new Datacert product, Macadamian observed the actions of previously-interviewed users as they interacted with the prototype.
“Macadamian had users perform typical tasks such as adding a note to a particular matter,” Massaro recalls. “They videotaped the users and we were able to watch those recordings to learn where people were getting lost as they interacted with the product.”
Datacert made a number of alterations to its initial interface designs as a direct result of the usability tests. “We were surprised to learn how often users would access the product’s search tool,” recalls Massaro. “The usability tests showed that we had not thought enough about what people would be looking for via search and how we should present the results.” The usability test results also revealed that users would benefit from the presence of specific task-oriented tabs on the user interface. “Our in-house design teams worked with the interface design experts at Macadamian to make sure that the research findings were accurately reflected in the final product.”
Meeting user needs
Datacert launched their legal management solution, Passport™, to rave user reviews. “The feedback from clients, prospects, and our internal sales team has been overwhelmingly positive,” says Massaro. “Users have told us that it is extremely easy to use and we’ve received very positive reviews on the interface.”
Massaro attributes the success of the Passport product design to the close relationship it developed with Macadamian over the course of the project. “Macadamian’s employees felt like an extension of the Datacert team,” Massaro notes. “They were always focused on the end user and the development of quality software in a cost-effective manner and we really appreciated that.”