This morning the ABA Journal launched a brand new website that fills a void in the legal news space that will be tough to beat. Summarizing 25 to 50 legal news items a day (RSS Feed), the Journal aggregates the legal news world in one spot. In addition to legal news, the Journal editorializes what is the “most important” legal news you need to be aware of by highlighting “Top Stories” (RSS Feed). Not stopping there, the new site brings their print edition online with full access to the current issue as well as archives back to 2005 (with plans to go even further). Finally, the Journal has a blawg (legal blog) directory which currently has over 1000 blogs categorized and more are added daily.
These are just a few of the highlights. In reality, there is a lot behind this redesign that is cool. Some of the “not so obvious” secrets include:
The Slider – an interactive sliding bar similar to what you would see on Time.com or Washington Post.com. It will highlight special features and parts of the monthly magazine.
Advanced Search – Most advanced search boxes take you to a separate page with new fields to check off for narrowed searches. Not this site! Click “Advanced Search” and get an AJAX slider presenting you with some new options for you to narrow your results.
Action Bar – Get directly to comments, Share/E-mail uses a similar AJAX slider feature, Permalink, and Print.
Commenting – Add your opinion to our posts and magazine stories. Comments will be open for 7 days past news items and 30 days past magazine articles. Name and email required as well as filling out a CAPTCHA and agreeing to some terms/disclaimer.
Mobile Edition – Stay up-to-date on the most recent posts with your smartphone. Be sure to bookmark http://mobile.abajournal.com.
This site was a large undertaking and in reality went from memo to launch in just about five months. This was very aggressive when you think about all the decisions that need to be made from functionality, to wireframing, selecting vendors to work with, design/comp, filling with content, beta-testing, fixing bugs, training, and launch. My work with the Journal was specific to translating business goals and functionality into working documents for vendors, developing some beta templates, and providing training on specific functionality and business processes.
The great thing about the web and a website like this is that it is never really “done” and believe me when I say that this site will continue to improve with new features, functionality, and reasons to visit on a regular basis. So bookmark the site (www.abajournal.com), sign up for a newsletter or grab an RSS feed or two and be sure to keep tabs on this site.
On a personal note, congrats to the ABA Journal (specifically to Ed, Molly, Deb, Martha, and Sarah) on a job well done.
A few other aspects I forgot to point out about the new ABA Journal website:
Daily and Weekly Newsletters & RSS Feeds – Pick your poison, get news via RSS feeds for top stories and daily news, or subscribe to the daily and weekly email newsletters. Daily will recap the last day’s worth of content; weekly will cover the top ten posts of the week.
Tag Cloud – Having your topics sorted in alpha order is nice, seeing a tag cloud is better! See how many entries we have pertaining to a topic on the Topics page and on the Tag Cloud tab. Categories are alpha left to right and are weighted against the number of items in each category based on the news items and the magazine content.
Read some other opinions of the new site:
Denise Howell @ Bag and Baggage
Dennis Kennedy @ DennisKennedy.blog [Note: Dennis and I are friends as well as having previously worked together at the ABA, so this one is a little "slanted" in my favor. ]
Eric Turkewitz @ New York Personal Injury Law Blog
Bill Gratsch @ Blawg.org
Ernie “the attorney” Svenson @ Ernie the Attorney
Carolyn Elefant @ MyShingle
Mark Obbie @ The Carnegie Legal Reporting Program at Newhouse Blog