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Refine & Shine: FindLaw.com Shines On

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By Steven Tanner on April 16, 2013 10:01 AM

The law is not carved in stone, but changes with the times. Ideally, it is a reflection of our collective values as interpreted through the Constitution. New laws are passed by legislation and ballot initiatives; old laws are rewritten; and countless laws both new and old are challenged in court. It's this tension and sense of continuous renewal that makes our legal system so dynamic.

FindLaw.com's Learn About the Law section also is in a constant state of refinement. Obviously, our legal content must keep up with changes in the law. But additional consideration must be given to how well our material is presented and how easy it is for our users to find. To this end, we are devoting much of 2013 to combing through our LATL articles and resources in an effort to improve the user experience.

We call it "Project Refine and Shine," or "R&S" for short.

As with any online content provider, we sometimes experience unintended consequences when switching to a new content management system. That was one catalyst for this project. Our latest upgrade greatly improved the user experience, but also caused formatting errors and other bugs with some of the pages. We needed to fix the bugs, but also saw this is as a prime opportunity to make broader improvements across the LATL section.

We never write for machines, although a large part of the R&S project involves the use of analytic data to determine the best way for users to find us through search engines. This is more of an art than a science, especially since the rules are constantly evolving. Fortunately, Google and other major search engines generally favor strong content.

But not everyone finds us through a search engine. Those of you who start at our homepage or one of our welcome pages will be pleased to find more robust introductions to sections and better descriptions of our featured content. See Criminal Trial or Marriage Law Overview for examples. Additionally, we have made an effort to add more links to relevant content within each article in order to better meet reader needs.

This project also gives us an opportunity to plug what we thought might be holes in our content. New and revamped articles written as part of the R&S effort include:

We have a long way to go, but we think you will be pleased at how Project Refine and Shine already improves the LATL section. Please don’t hesitate to contact us with any suggestions you may have. After all, our purpose is to give you the best user experience possible.

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