The online home of the Chattanooga Bar Association (chattanoogabar.org) has a spanking new look. But the website’s beauty is more than skin deep. The CBA and site developer Williams Web have also made the site easier to use and more informative.
Job one when designing the new site was to ensure it would work on every modern device, says Greg Pearson of Williams Web. His company designed the CBA’s former site over a decade ago for personal computers - ancient history in the technology industry. Not only was its look outdated, says Pearson, but it wasn’t built to take advantage of modern devices such as smart phones and tablet computers.
“When you were on a mobile device, you would have to pinch and drag the site,” Pearson says. “That’s frustrating.”
The new site resizes itself to fit the screen of the device accessing the site. So, whether the user is on a PC, an iPhone, or a Surface Pro 3, the site will look the same, and the menus and other navigation aids will adjust accordingly.
“The website will look like we built it for whatever device you’re using,” says Pearson.
The site also has an all-new look, but instead of building something showy, the CBA and Williams Web opted for a simpler, more elegant design befitting of the character and long history of the Bar.
The main page consists of a black and white photograph of the county courthouse framed in steel blue and the phrase “Serving lawyers of the Chattanooga Area since 1897.”
“I’m glad we used just one photograph,” says Pearson. “We’ve designed sites that use multiple photographs, but the courthouse says it all. It says the Chattanooga Bar Association is a venerable organization.”
The Bar’s mission statement follows below in stylish font, reminding visitors that the organization exists to serve not itself but the legal profession and the surrounding community:
“The Chattanooga Bar Association exists to work for the betterment of the legal profession and the administration of justice: to take an active interest in governmental affairs; to stimulate a feeling of respect, esteem, and good fellowship among members of the profession; (and) to maintain a high standard of ethics among the members of the Bar of Chattanooga ....”
The site also offers links to the Bar’s Facebook (www.facebook.com/pages/Chattanooga-Bar-Association) and Twitter (@ChattBarAssoc) pages.
The CBA and Williams Web didn’t just want the site to look great, they wanted the information it contained to be easy to find. To that end, a series of menu selections line the top right of the page offering links to information for attorneys, the public, the Fellows, and more.
Hovering a mouse cursor over a selection highlights it. Clicking most of the links brings up another page with more, alphabetically listed links. For example, the “For Attorneys” link takes users to a page with the CBA’s bylaws, local rules of court, membership information, and more.
“The navigation is very clear,” Pearson says. “You can quickly find what you need.”
At the bottom of the main page, users will find a list of upcoming events, sponsor information, and a link to the Lawyer’s Referral Service.
Lastly, the CBA and Williams Web also migrated the existing material to the new site as well as incorporated new material. Lynda Hood, executive director of the Bar, had a laundry list of things she wanted to include.
“We created a new tab for the Foundation, which provides an overview of the history of the organization as well as information about the Law School Scholarship and the Charles A. Noone Sustaining Fund,” Hood says.
Also new to the site is the online attorney directory, which is searchable by name.
In addition, the Bar’s “When You Become 18” booklet was available on the old site, but has been reformatted to fit the new design.
Hood says the timing on the redesign was perfect because Williams Web had just launched the new version of SiteNow, its proprietary website content management system, which allows users to update the site without having to learn the ins and outs of web design.
She was also eager to continue the good working relationship the CBA has had with Williams Web over the years. “We stayed with them because we work well together, and they’re a local company,” says Hood. “I enjoyed working with Greg to make the site useful and necessary for our members and the general public.”
Pearson likes the new site, too, and is looking forward to the ongoing administrative work it will be doing for the online destination. “From the standpoint of making it a useful site, we’ve done some good things,” he says.