Enhanced User Experience for ILAO to make legal language digitally accessible




ILAO Case Study Cover
case study

Client Overview

For over 19 years, Illinois Legal Aid Online (ILAO) has simplified the law so that people can seek justice. ILAO makes the law understandable and accessible through innovation and technology, providing residents of Illinois with tools to help themselves get the justice they seek. ILAO has helped to overcome the racial, cultural, language, education, location, time, disability, and financial barriers for utilising the law to get justice.



Industry Overview

While we know that in the legal sector, confidentiality and reliability are of utmost importance, at the same time modern operations in legal require a lot of - third-party integrations for bringing various legal systems together for control; case management to efficiently follow legal procedures via workflows, documentation and archiving to improve consistency, and analytics to ensure fair governance. They also require performance systems that work smoothly under high load and enable endless expansion and customization capabilities to power legal impact.

illinois legal aid online
Faster Loading Content

Faster loading content

Improvement in mobile

Enhanced mobile & desktop performance

Improvement in SEO

Improvement in SEO

Dev intervention

Entities migrated to Drupal 8

Gwen Daniels  Director, Product Development - ILAO quotes

I have never worked with a more dedicated group of developers. When I explain what I want, they understand how to approach it, whether it is a site-building task, contributed modules or something that going to require custom code. And it goes beyond Drupal, their development practices are deeply professional. 

Gwen Daniels
Director, Product Development
illinois legal aid online
illinois legal aid online
Getting the right information in minimum clicks was the aim of the new website. 

Problem Statement

  • The Drupal 7 site was having some critical issues with the design. It was complicated for people who were in distress and desperate for information. 

  • The content was inter-mixed throughout the Legal Information section, with no way to differentiate between aspects like legal information 'for legal professionals' and 'the public'.

  • A UX overhaul of the homepage was needed to achieve two goals:

    • Driving users to ILAO’s products

    • Instilling trust in the organization and the products ILAO provides

  • The Legal Information pages were overwhelming, particularly for a public user. ILAO wanted to develop a more streamlined approach that prioritizes (within a category) the legal problems most commonly experienced by people.

  • Mobile-first approach for improving adoption and impact.

Technical Requirements

  • Migrate ILAO's current website from Drupal 7 to Drupal 8

  • Design revamp for enhanced user experience

  • Migrating and simplifying the Online Triage, Intake and Referral System's (OTIS) complex workflows

  • Include discussion groups, event calendar and job posting under the Legal Professionals section

  • Adding library and pages -  Form library section, Blog page revamp, newly renovated ‘Victim of crime’ pages

  • Adding features - Toolbox feature for users to track their inputs, Attorney manuals (based on Drupal’s book module)

  • Adding a Legal Information library that provides information, in various formats:

    • Guides, articles, and how-to articles

    • Informational articles

    • Videos

    • Static forms

    • Links and file downloads to informational articles

  • Making Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education (IICLE ®) content available to legal aid attorneys.

  • Mobile friendly engagement - several main features, like OTIS, worked in the modal pop-up, which needed a revamp.

illinois legal aid online
illinois legal aid online
We helped ILAO bring clarity to its original version of the website, we build a redesign strategy to simplify data through intuitive navigation and accessibility.

Design Discovery for ILAO

Simple and easy, the new ILAO website reflects the coherence and seriousness of the problems the legal system can solve. The website was redesigned to bridge the gap between the attorneys, people, and the sometimes, complicated legal world. And finally, with a scalable design system, we made it feasible to access a visual language that integrates the classic principles of good design with innovation and the practicality of technology.

| User Research

  • After intensive user research, we gained some insights on user pain points, behavioural actions, and goals.

| Pain Points

  • Opacity in the process - Users weren’t sure of where they were in their journey to legal justice

  • They weren’t able to search/filter legal resources based on what their needs were

| User Behaviours

  • Losing confidence in finding legal resources, users wanted to talk to someone 

  • They were unsure of the process and the output

  • They found the information a lot to process, but they were keen on doing this on their own

| User Goals

  • The primary user goal was to have a clear breakdown of all processes from beginning to the end, for them to have a clear understanding of the timeline of the case.

  • The second user goal was to have all legal resources accessible.

  • The users needed a sense of direction and guidance on what to expect

| Feature List

  • Added Accessible features

  • Simplified of the complex laws through content architecture

  • Structured the process.

  • Designed an actionable and intuitive user experience.

  • Build for an omnichannel experience.

  • Integrated a Design system for scalability and reusability of the components.

illinois legal aid online
From the start of mapping out the new user experience, it was clear that ILAO would need an extensive library of components.

Drupal 7 to Drupal 8 Migration

The ILAO upgrade or Drupal 8 migration was one of the massive migrations that we have executed. The migration included approximately 1 million custom entities, half a million nodes, some taxonomy, few users, and files. To add to this complexity, we were migrating them with their revisions and translations.

| Discovery Phase

The project started with an in-person discovery with Gwen Daniels (Director Product Development), where we analysed the current Drupal 7 site structure - what to scrape, what to retain with Drupal 8, and what to restructure/re-architect.
A hybrid approach between custom migration and Drupal core upgrade path was chosen since more than 75% of the structure after the discovery workshop was to stay the same as Drupal 7.

| The Drupal 8 Migration Journey

  • Core upgrade path did a lot of heavy lifting for us by migrating the structure along with fields that had a migration path.

  • Rest of it was followed with custom migration plugins and migrate paths. The site also had a few modules on Drupal 7 site which needed to be available with Drupal 8. We took care of porting them to Drupal 8 and contributing back while working on the project.

  • The only technically challenging areas that we felt around this migration Project were handling multilingual & migrating revisions correctly with the entities.

  • The migration was not only performed at the data level but also was accompanied with a complete re-branding of the portal which focused on solving major issues that ILAO users faced.

  • The Drupal 8 portal was designed and developed keeping accessibility in mind. The frontend team aligned very well with the design team while developing the designs.

  • The entire design development was done following a component-based approach, resulting in flexible and faster deliveries.

Highlights 2
illinois legal aid online
A 24/7 platform that helps people understand their legal options and act to get the justice they seek.

Solution Delivered

Component-based page - Theming is primarily based on reusable components. These components can be used in multiple combinations to create a page layout.

Multilingual website - ILAO supports three languages English, Spanish, Polish.

Online Triage and Intake System - Get Legal Help feature that gives information about users' specific problem by taking step by step inputs.

Portal pages 

Toolbox - This feature breaks down steps in a process and provides a checklist that allows for tracking of the progress over time.

Solr Search - Search feature is very important for ILAO because most of the legal problems are predefined and made available through searches. There are dedicated search features which help users search in focused areas.

SEO - We made effective use of some Drupal contributed modules like metatags. Translation improves with the ability to import and export the XLIFF files that our 3rd party translators use with their external tools

We delivered actionable UX, improved translation capacity, a better mobile experience and increased security and speed with Drupal 8.

Technology Stack