The Design Secrets of User-Centric Legal Hold Software
I love the work I do as a UX/UI designer, because it inspires me to create and build things from the ground up that provide significant and measurable value. Designing a better legal hold software product is a perfect example.
In this case, especially, I was allowed to creatively solve a problem and impact people and organizations in a positive way. How? By improving one of the most common yet important processes in any legal department.
Over two years ago, the gauntlet that was laid down before me – solve the legal hold problem. Create and design a software solution that addresses the biggest dilemmas when it comes to managing the end-to-end process of executing legal holds.
What are the problems? Anyone in the legal hold trenches will tell you that the problems associated with traditional or manual approaches to executing legal holds are that they are complicated, costly, error-prone, and loaded with risk because there’s a lot riding on the competent execution of them.
Those were the problems that led to the mission – design a legal hold SaaS solution that would massively simplify the entire end-to-end legal hold process and reduce legal staff costs and risk at the same time.
This solution would have to be comprehensive and powerful enough to manage all the complexities of executing competent and defensible legal holds, yet be simple and intuitive at the same time so that users would have a minimal learning curve and a high desire to use it and experience all the benefits it could provide.
An unexpected source of design inspiration
My high-level macro goal was to design a product that was naturally intuitive, where a user would never wonder or question what to do next. One of my inspirations came from an unexpected source – TurboTax. Their whole claim to fame was taking the totally intimidating and complex process of doing taxes and making it easy and not intimidating by guiding any user through every step of the way to getting their tax return done (and hopefully get a refund).
That’s exactly the same kind situation or problem I wanted to solve for with the legal hold process. I figured if TurboTax can do this with something as complicated as taxes, then I should take a page out of their UX/UI playbook and apply it to the legal hold software solution I needed to design, and that’s exactly what I did.
My objective was to design an intuitive legal hold software product with a clean and modern interface, a self-guided process, and very minimal training required. Users should never have to wonder or question what to do next or how to do it.
Our team was small but highly driven to solve the legal hold problem. We were a very close-knit group, and we became very good storytellers, and that’s exactly what you need in order to design a solution – you have to know the relevant stories.
The X factor
In order to truly understand and internalize the stories and design something that was modern and intuitive, we needed an “X factor” – tribal knowledge from real Legal Ops folks that were in the trenches of the legal hold process.
They’re the people that completely understood the nuances of the complex process in more detail than our team could ever know. There are some things that just can’t be anticipated or known from a designer’s point of view, so this kind of insight and guidance was monumental for us in designing the product.
From day one we made a decision that we would create and develop our legal hold solution in partnership and collaboration with over 40 of our Legal Operations clients who had the real-world experience and understanding we needed in order to create, without question, the most powerful and user-friendly solution on the market.
This decision to partner with our clients was the X factor we needed. I have never designed a product that had this much collaboration and partnership with real users. I truly believe this is the reason we are getting such positive feedback from clients, prospects, and the market.
Mitratech was at LegalTech New York last week, and our booth was literally packed with people lining up to a demo of our newly launched product, LegalHold. The positive feedback on the product has been incredible and so rewarding for me personally and our team as a whole.
Relentless in our pursuit of feedback
We were relentless in terms of the granularity of feedback we sought after from our Legal Ops clients who went on this journey with us. As we would share processes, designs, and workflows, we would get direct feedback from our user group. If something didn’t make sense to them, we would get their specific feedback and go back and make the changes that addressed their issues or concerns about interacting with legal hold software. Sometimes I would take their feedback and come back with A/B options so I could test which were most positively received.
We worked in 3-week sprint cycles and we would show our client group what we were planning on building over the next three weeks, and get their feedback before we started building, so we could incorporate any feedback. This process worked out really well and it validated our design for the next sprint, all the way through the development of the product.
Well-defined and understood personas were another key factor that our user group provided us with that supplied incredible detail and understanding. Who were they? What was their pain? What were their challenges? What were their triggers? What were their behaviors? Who were they working with and how? The level of detail and understanding we were able to get from our user group was priceless.
A rewarding experience
The experience of working with such dedicated and motivated team members who worked relentlessly to create a cutting-edge and intuitive SaaS solution that solved the biggest challenges of manual or traditional approaches to managing legal holds? That’s been rewarding and fulfilling.
I can also say, with confidence, that LegalHold would not be the product it is today if it weren’t for the collaborative partnership and consistent feedback we received from our Legal Ops user group that helped us create the most powerful and intuitive legal hold solution on the market. From every storyboard and button to every workflow and design element, they were with us every step of the way, helping to shape and mold the final product.
Over two years ago, the legal hold software gauntlet was thrown down before us.
Two years later, I can proudly say we answered it with LegalHold.