In general, law firms tend to be laggards when it comes to jumping on emerging technology trends. Perhaps it's because attorneys are busy with more important matters, or maybe it's due to a general risk aversion within the profession, but law firms are rarely on the "bleeding edge." While that has probably saved law firms like yours from much of the pain of being an early adopter, there is one trend that you would do well to jump on immediately: moving your website into mobile.
New data shows that mobile now accounts for 51 percent of time spent online. That's right: Mobile has officially surpassed the desktop browser. And there's more. A recent Pew Research Center survey found that almost two-thirds of cell phone owners go online using their phones. We can no longer ignore the fact that mobile devices will soon far outstrip the desktop for Internet usage.
Mobile Users Are On Task
In building a mobile program, it's not enough to simply have a website that's accessible via mobile devices. While most modern Web browsers can display any website, sites intended for desktop browsers often display horribly on mobile devices. So, to really get impact from a mobile website, it's important to tune it to the needs of the mobile user.
In her excellent blog post, Lynn Baus of Responsys lays out a sound approach that law firms should follow in building out a mobile website. Design efforts should begin with a fundamental fact about mobile users: They are, above all, task oriented. Mobile users generally are not in "research mode" -- they are in "get-it-done" mode. That applies especially to attorney-seekers. They don't necessarily want to read detailed articles on their smartphones. Rather, they want a quick overview of your firm, the directions to your office or most importantly, the ability to easily call your firm.
Your Firm's Mobile Website
Law firms need to think carefully about what actions they want users to take, focus the entire design around making this happen and eliminate or subordinate all content that gets in the way of the desired task. Avoid the temptation to reproduce all the content from your main website on your mobile site. Amazon found that sales increased 1 percent for every 100 milliseconds shaved off website load time -- so get rid of the fat!
Almost two-thirds of mobile visitors say the ability to easily call the business is most important when they are thinking of making a purchase during a site visit. In other words, tap-to-call and tap-to-email functions make it virtually effortless for site visitors to contact your firm.
The data is clear: The mobile user base is large and getting larger. People are on their smart phones purchasing goods and services. It's time for progressive law firms to move closer to that bleeding edge and build mobile websites that meet the needs of today's consumers.
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Mark Jacobsen, Senior Director, Strategic Development and Thought Leadership