Saturday, March 13, 2010

Weigh In on WSBA's Website!

The Washington State Bar Association needs and wants your help in figuring out how to improve its web presence which currently sucks. Potential users, who include lawyers, other legal system professionals, and anyone who has contact with or interest in our justice system, have been asked:
  • Think of the site holistically from an outside perspective – initial thoughts?
    • Audiences of the website – who and what are they looking for?
    • What would you like to see on the site when you first come to it?
  • Now, think of as a member, a volunteer or as a lawyer:
    • What do you like as a user of the site?
    • What do you dislike as a user of the site?
    • What features would you like to see on the site?
    • What is missing that would make the site more easy to use and obtain information?
    • Are there other website examples you find that offer what you would like to see?
  • If you are a bar leader (Sections, Access to Justice, Committee Chair, etc.)
    • how would you like to see your areas treated in the site?
    • What functionality needs does your specific focus area need?
  • What are your thoughts on Social Media integration for as well as other areas of the site with their own identity?
  • The website will also be going through a rebrand, which will be carried through to other marketing materials. The logo will remain the same, but what are your thoughts as to other styles that can be applied?

What You Should Do

As I See It

As a licensing organization, WSBA is necessarily controlling and conservative (in the classical sense): staid, stodgy, careful, meticulous, planned and more concerned with fulfilling rules handed down from above than in being responsive to those it licenses. That's not necessarily a bad thing; you don't want the people who wield the power of the State to flail around with it capriciously.

As a service organization, it should have precisely the opposite dynamic: innovative, risk-taking, and above all driven by the needs of its membership. This is fundamentally at odds with the licensing function! WSBA's services are compromised by its need to control information, which may work in old-school media but, as we say in the industry, The Internet treats censorship as a communications failure and routes around it.

Let's give props to WSBA for trying (look, it's even got a Twitter!) and now ... let's help fix the problem!

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