A Website and Brand Refresh

Introduction

For more than 50 years, the Dallas Women Lawyers Association has worked tirelessly to promote “the standing of women in the legal community.” The organization wished to update its website and turned to us for help in making that happen. First and foremost, it wanted a creative refresh that could help redefine how the organization is viewed. However, there were other areas in which it was unsure of what it was looking for and exactly what a website could do to fulfill those needs once identified. We were well acquainted with the DWLA and the important work it did and knew this was a job we were perfectly suited for. We quickly accepted, offering our services to the organization pro bono.

Articulating the Vision

The first order of business was to sit down with the organization to get a better idea of what it hoped to accomplish. Together, we went page by page through its former website, taking note of what it liked and what it didn’t. This allowed us to narrow our scope of work and identify the key components of the project. These included:

  • A new logo
  • An updated look and feel
  • Streamlined website content and navigation
  • New features
    • Robust events/calendar
    • Improved registration
    • Sponsors section updates
    • Online payment abilities
    • Member community portal

With these objectives identified, we created a new sitemap, which served as the blueprint and roadmap for the assignment. We then moved on to the work of designing and programming the new site. One of the many goals of this project was to demystify the creation process for the association. We did this by breaking tasks down into manageable, bite-size chunks, allowing the decisions we made to inform the next decisions we would have to make, thereby making the entire process easier.

To help the DWLA better understand this process, we shared a guide we created and often refer back to, The Website Development Process Untangled (linked above). This is an overview that lays out all the steps necessary to build a website that not only functions well, but also delivers on the specific points the organization needed it to. It’s a versatile document that applies to a wide range of websites and related needs.

The Portal

The first area we tackled was what would become the new member portal. After identifying the organization’s needs, we were able to identify the right technical solution to meet them. Like other websites, we envisioned something that would allow DWLA members to stay connected and informed, but the scope of what we set out to accomplish was much larger. We wanted to create a central repository for all the information the organization was currently using, and that future DWLA leaders would need when the reigns were handed over to them years down the road. The portal would serve as a committee work management solution. It would have access to historical documents  and allow members to collaborate on projects, with the ability to upload documents, pictures, files, etc., to the platform. It would also give board members and certain users the ability to create groups, with only those invited to these groups given access to the content so that a level of security could be maintained. 

The portal also functions similar to a social platform in that members would be able to post on “public” message boards. There is a messaging/inbox feature allowing members to communicate with one another privately. 

We worked with the DWLA team to develop and test this new portal to ensure it met its needs, then deployed a test environment as a soft launch before rolling it out to the entire organization. 

The Logo

Before we looked at addressing the wider look and feel of the website, we started with the organization’s new logo. A decision was made to move away from the cursive script and elegant lines of the previous logo in favor of something more modern that projected authority and strength.  

We’ve had the opportunity to develop several logos throughout the years, and much like the Website Development Process Untangled document we put together, we created another guide filled with useful information we like to keep front and center when taking on this kind of work. That can be viewed here: What Makes a Good Law Firm Logo? 

New Look, New Feel

 

 

The updated logo allowed us to develop a creative concept and direction for the larger DWLA website. These briefs were developed in collaboration with the DWLA to help articulate the direction we went in. We created a new and reorganized homepage, using that design to inform the look and feel of the site’s interior pages. As we redesigned new areas of the website, we also edited, organized, and updated much of the content contained on the site, which, over the years, had grown considerably. This provided a more streamlined user experience focused on items and topics members were interested in, as well as paint an accurate and modern picture of DWLA and the work it did. 

The organization also wanted to update the website to create a more personal experience for visitors. From a design perspective, we felt the best way to do this was to focus on the members, which we featured in many of the images we used throughout the site. This served to highlight the fact that it’s the people who make DWLA run and foster a broader sense of community.  

Under Construction

When it came to programming the new website, we started with the portal so that members could begin using it as soon as possible. Our programmer built all of this on a staging site, allowing the project’s stakeholders to get hands-on experience before the website officially launched. This also allowed us to see what worked and what didn’t and make changes as we went along. Pages and content approved by the DWLA were added to the site so that, by the end of the process, it was a full-fledged, operational website in a staging environment.  

Once the programming was complete, the site was given a top-to-bottom review. Everything – links, images, copy – was tested, checked, and double checked. Once we were satisfied that the site passed muster, it was ready for launch.  

After-Action Report

We knew that while we might be proud of a website we created, the true measure of success would be the reaction of those who would be using it the most. And we were happy to see that the feedback we received has been overwhelmingly positive. The website’s new design shows how relevant the organization remains 50 years after its inception. The new member portal allows users to better communicate with one another, upload files, and maintain a centralized ecosystem to more efficiently manage the organization, not only for the current leadership, but also for the next generation of leaders who will eventually have the torch passed onto them.  

Conclusion

It’s not every day that we have the opportunity to partner with an organization like the Dallas Women Lawyers Association that provides such important services to its members. That, coupled with our knowledge that creating a website doesn’t have to be the daunting task it’s sometimes made out to be, made this project a no-brainer. And we know that, if there’s an organization out there with a vision, Androvett is able to serve as a trusted partner to make it a reality. 

We hope we’re able to help others to realize that in the same way we were able to here. 

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