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Website review

18 May 09

Two Scottish firms (one big, one not so big) who are making the most of modern technology online

by Iain Nisbet

MacRoberts

www.macroberts.com

Wow! MacRoberts’ website has had a major facelift. The content of the site was always pretty impressive, to be fair – but I was never sold on the white on blue colour scheme they adopted. Corporate colours are all very well, but not at the expense of readability. The front page now boasts a large masthead with a variety of typically Scottish scenes, and the text is generally black on a white background – which is handy.

But there is so much more to this new website than a cosmetic makeover. The eye is almost immediately drawn to the section heading “Interactive Services” – well my eye was anyway.

All the items in that section are both novel and impressive. Let’s start with that little black and orange logo at the top left of every page – a speech bubble with the words “Say it”. Click on this and the site will read the page aloud to you. True, the voice sounds a little like it should be explaining the origins of the universe to you, rather than MacRoberts’ environmental policy, but that’s no bad thing. While read-along functionality is becoming more common in the public sector, it’s still very rare for commercial firms, so kudos to MacRoberts for leading the way here. In fact, on web accessibility generally, this ticks a number of boxes: access keys; scalable text; cascading style sheets – they’re all here, and it’s really good to see a firm taking pride in inclusion.

If you want to keep up-to-date with the firm or the areas of law in which it practises, then there are a number of options: e-updates, podcasts, RSS feeds – they will even send a paper copy of a newsletter through the post! I have in the past found some difficulty in trying to unsubscribe myself from such updates, but this is a minor quibble in the grand scheme of things.

Printing out information from websites isn’t always neat and tidy but this site has the answer. As you browse it, click on the logo (again orange and black, but this time at the top right of every page) “MacR2Go” and the info will be added to a list, which you can edit and then create a PDF file to save or print. Very cool.

Finally, it appears that if you are a client or member of staff you can log in to MacRoberts Online Resource (Mor-e) or MacRoberts Global, respectively. As I am neither, I couldn’t log in – but they’re probably terrific too.

Inksters

www.inksters.com

Inksters market themselves as “Just that little bit different”, and that’s probably fair comment if the website is anything to go by. Inksters TV and Inksters FM are not yet available on Freeview or DAB Radio, but on the website you can get interesting legal insights in video or audio clips. You can pay your legal fees to Inksters online using a credit card – which is very useful, I dare say. But aside from having an excellent website, there is one main reason that the online community is very excited about this firm in particular: Inksters are twittering.

If you are reading the web review then I will assume that you already know what Twitter is. If not, “micro-blogging” may not mean that much to you either. You can find out more by visiting http://twitter.com or http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twitter. What you may not know is that Inksters is (was?) the first Scottish law firm to get in on the act. And what, exactly, do they tweet? Well, there are three streams – one being a general firm channel, one for Scottish (residential) property and a third for property on Shetland (which is the most popular, with 74 followers at the time of writing). I’m inclined to think that this is more than just a cute piece of marketing – for 74 followers to be instantly updated when new property comes on the market, or goes under offer, or is transferred to a fixed price, has to offer a competitive advantage over other firms. And that information being delivered direct to potential purchasers at home, work or on the move ensures that potential bidders don’t miss out because they didn’t pick up their phone messages on time.

Impressive, most impressive.

  • Think your firm can do better? Let me know, and you may feature in a future web review.

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