The product redesign was initiated by our users as much as the business teams. The existing product had been in its current form for years and was showing it. It had been a dominant player in the market for years, which didn’t encourage innovation. But when competitors started coming into the market and introducing products that were more thoughtfully designed and easier to use, our business team paid attention.
The Westlaw UI was inconsistent and, over the years, had absorbed tools from various products and features that didn’t always have the same style or functional behavior. Here’s what I saw as the main challenges of the redesign:
- Navigation was all over the place, literally: it was within the page, on top, off to one side, and sometimes stuck inside a menu bar that was inconsistently displayed.
- The header didn’t offer much consistency, either, lacking persistent tools and quick access to prominent features.
- Readability was was also an issue. Column widths were wildly inconsistent on document display and there was a lot of visual interference in “reading mode.” Not great when the primary function of the product was to allow users to read documents.
- But only if they can find them. Which is why search was also a very important component of the redesign.