Andrew Jackson - Website Review
are a law firm based in Hull and Grimsby in northern England. They service local, regional, national and international clients and cover a breadth of legal areas and specialist sectors. They're an old firm, dating back to the 1500s, or thereabouts (1870s actually), but from the look of their website they're very much a modern bunch these days. This week, via Twitter, they approached me to review their recently revamped website. It would be rude not to.First Impressions – The Homepage:
"If you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can find them, maybe you can hire...Andrew Jackson". Not quite, but the first thing to hit you is the snappy copy ...."If you have a specialist requirement, we have a specialist who can help." Delivering this is a friendly yet authoritative looking chap who may or may not be the managing partner. If he is, then he's the first managing partner to look comfortable doing the 'Deborah Meaden hands' (one for UK readers and fans of the BBC's Dragons' Den).
Anyway, back on piste. The homepage is slick, proof that by keeping things simple, using appropriate imagery and copy, you can convey your brand, services and scope in one visual hit. Clearly defined sections for Business, International, and Personal are accompanied by relevant stock photography, all of which makes the firm appear to be a friendly local firm and an international player (certainly in comparison to SNR Denton
). My one gripe is that when viewing this site on a laptop the firm's new range of online services are not immediately obvious, located as they are at the bottom of quite a large page. Viewed on a bigger monitor, however, and this is not an issue. These look promising - more on them later.
Arrgh! whose hand is that?
One issue across the site is that the site doesn't have any page titles. So, instead of my browser telling me I'm on Andrew Jackson Solicitors, it simply has the url. It's a small point but also one worth ironing out.Finding Your Way – Navigation:
There's a fairly perfunctory search box that sits at the top of the site, although the presentation of the results is not particularly easy on the eye. It just about does the job but some CSS refinements wouldn't go a miss. Once you click through to one of the Business, International or Personal sections the options cascade nicely on the left. I like the constant presence of the Testimonials, Memberships and Accreditations, and Latest News sections of the site. The menus for "Our People" work in a similar fashion, with cascading options on the left. It's also good to see support staff, business development, paralegals, office managers etc included in the list of people. Some firms shun the "bootroom" but more often than not these are the first people you'll speak to when seeking to instruct a law firm.
That hand again.
There are Meet the Team links for each practice area although I'd like to see more made of this, something that puts a face to a practice group (see here
for an example of what I mean). Content
: I mentioned earlier in the post that Andrew Jackson highlight their new range of online services on the homepage. At the bottom of their homepage there are links to nicely branded services, Connect2Law
, Point Legal
, and Cost Controller
, plus free legal resources and online legal documents. I was expecting Connect2Law, Point Legal, and Cost Controller to be online services, micro sites or client areas with a certain degree of interaction online. They were branded that way at least. Sadly, this was not the case, rather they simply link through (eventually) to a contacts page where you can find out more. Cost Controller, for example, has potential to be an online function in a clients-only zone of the site. Connect2Law and Point Legal might benefit from videos highlighting the benefits. I think this might be worth exploring.
Profiles for lawyers are well-written, if somewhat formulaic, and the practice area blurbs are to the point, with enough information to engage but not bore.
Photos. How do I say this? I'll put it this way: whoever took the lawyer photos for profiles may have (literally) lost focus halfway through the shoot. The tone and colours are consistent, but some are, well, really quite blurry. Compare them to the headshots used in the "hero" area of the site (happy chappy on homepage for example) and they are like chalk and cheese. I think it's worth spending money to get really good photos done as they set the tone for a page.
I praised Kingsley Napley's website for using client quotes plucked from the likes of Chambers UK and the Legal 500 and we see this again on Andrew Jackson's site. They mix these with quotes sourced from current clients and the blend works well. Getting Social - Andrew Jackson and Social Media: Facebook
icons are an ever-present on the site, although their Twitter page has a lot more going on than their Facebook page. However, there no blogs, no RSS feeds, no videos, and no podcasts, all of which is a shame. Conclusion:
The homepage and overall design promise much, and the site is very good
. But it's kind of like opening the bonnet/hood of a Porsche to find the engine of a mid-range saloon. The reason I say this is not because the site doesn't look nice because, the odd photo aside, it does. It's not because Andrew Jackson don't demonstrate knowledge and expertise, they do. It ticks many boxes. I say it because I was disappointed with the Connect2Law
, Point Legal
, and Cost Controller
elements of the site. The homepage piqued my interest but the content, the experience, failed to deliver. I was disappointed with the photos of lawyers, mainly because it shows a lack of attention to detail, and I was a little bit disappointed at the lack of social media and information sharing through RSS, podcasts and the like. That said, there's nothing wrong with a mid-range saloon car and the Andrew Jackson team deserve credit for a good job.
Defero Law - Social media for lawyers