I’ve been feeling that the legal industry was on the verge of adopting mobile friendly websites for a few months now, so when a new report from the Law Firm Mobile blog arrived in my inbox yesterday, it was pretty timely.
Inspired by LexBlog’s State of the AmLaw Blogosphere, Law Firm Mobile set out to determine which firms, among the AmLaw 200 and Global 100, had mobile versions of their websites. The key statistics found included:
- 19% of firms on the 2011 AmLaw list now have mobile sites;
- 22% of firms on the 2011 Global 100 list have mobile sites.
From there, the report links to and provides an excellent roundup of screen captures for each of those firms, and also lays out best practices and areas for improvement for mobile legal web design. If mobile design is in your 2012 plan, I would encourage you to see the full report here: LFM 2011: Report on the AmLaw200/Global Law 100 Mobile Web.
At Stem, we believe 2012 will be the year law firms embrace responsive web design – the concept of designing one website that adapts to whichever device it’s being viewed on, rather than creating separate sites for each. (See this collection of examples for a better idea of how responsively-designed websites change according to screen size.)
It won’t be enough to simply test websites in IE, Safari, Chrome and Firefox; those who design law firm websites will need to include smart phones and tablets in that mix as well. Fixed-width and minimum-width designs are on their way out; fluid grids and customized, device-sensitive designs will be necessary for firms to make their websites truly mobile-friendly.
As a example of how we’re incorporating responsive web design into our own best practices, see our client Thorsteinssons‘ website – it looks and behaves differently on a desktop computer, an iPad and a smartphone – subtly and intuitively:
Thorsteinssons LLP – iPad:
Thorsteinssons LLP – iPhone:
Side-by-side comparison, iPhone, iPad and Desktop:
If you’ve seen some excellent (or not so excellent) examples of mobile law firm websites, please consider dropping a note in the comments. We’re always on the lookout for great mobile implementations.