Werner Colangelo, FindLaw.com's Manager of Analytics and Audience, certainly knows a lot about you. Don't worry, not you personally, although it is Colangelo's job to understand how our users use FindLaw. Once he's done stalking you -- er, compiling anonymous analytical data pertaining to our users -- he tries to figure out why you do what you do at FindLaw.com.
Colangelo describes it like this:
We collect data on how people interact or behave with our site and then develop insights. Why are people reading a particular section? How can we replicate this with other sections? So then we convey this with the content folks.
After all, we didn't become the top destination for legal information without getting to know our users. So what, exactly, do we know about you? When asked, Colangelo said, "I could describe the average FindLaw user, but it's actually not that interesting or useful."
What he means is that our user base is exceptionally diverse, since people use our site (or portal, Colangelo's preferred term) for such different purposes. Also, he added, the team leads for each section (primarily Learn About the Law, FindLaw Answers, and the Legal Blogs) have quite different analytical needs.
The goal of any business initiative is to make money, but Colangelo describes the important balance at FindLaw of driving revenues while maintaining and improving the overall value of consumer offerings:
If it was all geared toward getting people to a lawyer, then we wouldn't be serving our users as well. We want to keep them engaged while they're on Findlaw and to come back. To do that we need high quality, discoverable content.
Perhaps one of the reasons Colangelo is so good at reaching out to our diverse user base has to do with his own background. Born in Brazil to Spanish and Italian parents, his family moved to Canada when he was a young boy. He then moved to the U.S. in 2005, but said he still feels "super-Canadian" here.
Regardless, Colangelo speaks four languages (five, if you count Canadian English and U.S. English). He also has worked a wide variety of tech-related jobs, from software development for a geophysics company, to Y2K project management for air traffic control systems, to running his own Internet startup.
He said he likes to think of himself as being more culturally sensitive than the average person — but only when pressed (like most Canadians, he's quite modest).
If he had to say something about the "average FindLaw user," he would comment on how our users rarely follow predictable content patterns. For example, people looking up information on the Second Amendment were not necessarily interested in related gun information:
You see more of an eclectic content pattern. It actually gives me a little bit of hope. This means there are people out there who are interested in learning more.
So next time you click on over to our site, er, portal, just remember that Colangelo(and the rest of the FL team) is working hard to make your experience better every time.