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Why Designing a Site Around Customers’ Needs is Crucial: A Look Through TYLA

Posted on Jul 22, 2013 by

Picture this. You’re halfway through college, your major is still “undecided” and you’re feeling the pressure to choose a sensible career path. You’ve always been interested in law, but let’s face it; you probably slept through most of your Intro to Law class freshman year. You want a resource that’s resourceful yet engaging enough to help you learn more about the process of becoming a lawyer. That’s where our client, Texas Young Lawyers Association (TYLA), comes in. You do some research and find out TYLA has a program called “What Do Lawyers Do?” After browsing through the site, you notice right off the bat that it’s a) visually engaging, b) easy to navigate, and c) has all the information you could possibly want about becoming a lawyer. You’re sold.

Now, picture this. You’ve graduated college. You’ve taken the LSAT; you’ve gotten into law school. Now what? Back to the same resource—that’s the beauty of “What Do Lawyers Do?” It’s a program that virtually moves with you as you progress through the stages of becoming a lawyer. The site is broken down into a timeline consisting of three categories:

  • Life Before Law School – Resources for high school and college students who are considering a career as a lawyer
  • Life During Law School – Resources for law students during their law school career, and a support system in preparation for the Bar Exam
  • Life After Law School – Resources for law school graduates, career support, and student loan repayment options

Some Background About Our Relationship with TYLA

If you’re a little bit lost as to where this all started, let’s take it back to March 2013. TYLA is a department of the State Bar of Texas. Its board members from TYLA chose HMG Creative as their agency to custom build the “What Do Lawyers Do?” website. To make sure we hit all of the deliverables outlined in the RFP, we consulted with six individuals on their supporting team to ensure we drafted the perfect proposal. After weeks of consulting, interviewing, and a combination of supplying and integrating professional feedback, in late March we finally crafted a solution that aligned with their vision. TYLA’s “What Do Lawyers Do?” idea became a reality. A lot of lawyers right now are fighting the class action xarelto.

 Designing a Site Around the Customer

Ultimately, TYLA wanted “What Do Lawyers Do?” to be a one-stop resource and user-friendly site for prospective, current and post-graduate law students. It’s geared to be a reference for advice on getting into law school, support during law school, and post-law school advice. In terms of design, TLYA wanted something visually stimulating and interactive that overlaid a traditional brochure-style website. After presenting two design mockups to them, they selected a vertical timeline theme designed to funnel attention to specific content for the three types of visitors that the website is targeted towards. The timeline easily directs the visitor to the resources he or she chooses to view. Once the visitor selects a topic, the backside of the website converts into a more traditional look and feel, complete with elaborate descriptions, links and videos about each subject matter. Essentially, the website is a hybrid between dynamic and traditional features.

Digging even deeper into the website’s features, the interactive vertical timeline has “Sticky Navigation,” allowing users to quickly find what they’re looking for and then navigate back to the top of the page. In regards to platform, we built the site on the Mura Content Management System (CMS) so that TYLA would be able to easily edit and update the content upon completion of the project. Similar to WordPress, Mura is an open-source CMS that offers flexible integration of apps, plugins, blog content and a user-friendly interface for non-developers. Lastly, we used the latest in HTML5 and CSS 3, which were all hard-coded for animations, scrolling effects and the “Sticky Navigation” features. Pretty cool stuff, if we do say so ourselves.

A website functions as a product—its look, feel and performance should be consistent with the customers and visitors it’s targeted toward. When building the “What Do Lawyers Do?” website, we kept in mind that the site’s viewership was likely going to be of a relatively young age demographic (around 18-26 years), so we had to keep the content and design fresh, engaging and current. We also made sure to include plenty of graphics so that it wasn’t too text-heavy. When building any site, it’s essential to keep not just the client, but also the customer in mind. What brands or programs do you know of that cater their website well to their customers?

TYLA is a department of the State Bar of Texas. For more information about TYLA, visit their website, and if you have a chance, don’t forget to check out the “What Do Lawyers Do?” project.

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