Magazine – Lawyers Weekly
Although Lawyers Weekly magazine already has a website, it would benefit greatly from an update. The current layout of the Lawyers Weekly website is arguably confusing, with little distinction between the numerous categories set out on the home page. A further issue is that the articles on the site are separated into fourteen categories (all listed in the menu bar at the top of the page), with vague names such as ‘deals’, ‘subs’, ‘moves’ and ‘folklaw’. The menu bar could further be improved by removing ‘about’, ‘advertise’ and ‘contact’ from the menu bar at the top of the page, as the readers of the magazine are unlikely to need quick and easy access to those options, and would likely prefer a clearer, more accessible menu bar.
To determine what improvements should be made to the Lawyers Weekly website, two key categories of magazine website were considered: women’s magazine websites; and financial magazine websites.
Women’s Weekly and Women’s Health Magazine were both considered under the first class of magazine websites. As women’s magazines remain popular, they represent a strong example of the materials that audiences enjoy engaging with. Both had very clear menu panels at the top of the page, with four to five options to choose from – relating to very clear categories (namely, ‘Health, Fitness, Dance Yourself Fit’ and ‘Health, News, Parenting, Reinvention, Women of the Future’ respectively). Both sites also minimised the word count in article titles, with large pictures, and substantial space between stories. Consequently, audiences can easily identify articles that interest them, and move through the categories of content.
The Economist and the Australian Financial Review were considered under the second class of magazine websites. Being more intellectually based, these magazine websites more closely represent the audience of Lawyers Weekly. Here, there was a greater divergence in the layout of the websites. Although both sites attempted to keep substantial spacing between articles, the Financial Review had significantly more words per section than the previous sites considered. As opposed to having a heading paired with a photo, the Financial Review had a full sentence by-line underneath each heading, in addition to a photo. The Financial Review also had a number of categories (ten) in its menu bar at the top of the page, however they directly corresponded to the sort of categories that would be expected within the magazine. The Economist’s layout was very similar to the magazine websites from the previous class; there were three items in the menu at the top of the page, and the photos with a short heading acted as links to the articles.
To improve the Lawyers Weekly website, it is proposed that the menu bar be amended so as to read ‘News, Opinion, Education’ with subcategories under each to correspond to the remaining items in the current heading. It is essential that the website facilitate access to expert opinion pieces (under ‘Opinion’), analysis of the issues impacting on law firms (under ‘News’), events impacting on the legal profession (under ‘News’), technology reports (under ‘Education’) and training reports (under ‘Education) – as this is the content covered by the hard copy of the magazine. It is further proposed that the design be amended so that links to articles are contained in photos with short headings, that have been categorised as previously outlined.