Bar News - February 18, 2015
NH Bar Works Toward Web Upgrades
By: Dan Wise
Want to find a fellow Bar member’s most up-to-date contact information? That task is easier now with the rollout of the new member directory at www.nhbar.org.
The link to the directory is easily found at the top of the revamped For Members’ page following sign-in to the password-protected area of the site. On this page members will also find the popular Casemaker library and other frequently accessed features. The enhanced directory is the first visible step toward a complete website overhaul.
The directory provides expanded capabilities: In addition to displaying members’ preferred contact information, member status, law school, and year of admission, it now displays sections and committees to which the member belongs. Members can instantly click on phone or email to communicate with a member. Also available for the first time is a “v-card” download – with one click, Outlook users can add a member’s information to their contact lists. Member information is updated nightly directly from the bar association’s membership database.
The new directory draws information from a the database, which also enabled the Bar Association to invoice and accept dues payments online starting last June, a convenience many members requested and embraced.
Members’ comments from a survey conducted last year, as well as all website visitors’ usage patterns, are prime considerations in designing and building a new association website this year. The new website aims to achieve:
- Simpler navigation, emphasizing the most popular tasks and content areas;
- Streamlined sign-on processes, eliminating unnecessary obstacles to accessing information;
- Updated design that allows users to easily navigate the site on a desktop or mobile device;
- A more personalized experience that highlights information or events based on member interests or affiliations;
- Increased interactivity, including fillable forms, editable member records and direct contact with association staff;
- Easier online access to Bar News and other Association publications; and
- Improved search capabilities.
Part of the challenge of the upgrade process is integrating services delivered to members through a variety of third-party vendors, including InReach CE, which maintains the online catalog for NHBA•CLE, and Casemaker, provider of the NHBA’s online law library member benefit, and related sites such as ART, the online tool members are using to self-certify and self-report credits earned to satisfy the NH Minimum Continuing Legal Education rule.
“In the 21st century, our website has become the front door that gives our members access to the Association’s whole range of services. We are undergoing a thoughtful process to build a better door that members will want to use, and will find easy to use,” said Jeannine McCoy, NHBA executive director. “Integrated with our sophisticated member information database, our website will be smart enough to greet a member when they come to the site and perhaps even anticipate their needs. That may not be available on day one of the new site, but that’s our goal.”
The Bar Association is currently working with a consultant with expertise in websites that integrate information from a variety of sources. Decisions on technology and functionality of the website also are guided by concerns for security of members’ information and reliability of the site. Members will be invited, via surveys or focus groups, to provide input on preliminary site navigation.
The launch of the new site, rather than an end, will be the beginning of a continuous website improvement process designed to leverage new technologies to increase member access to information and association services.
The bar association is interested in members’ comments and thoughts on how to improve the current site; we welcome your suggestions on how www.nhbar.org can do more to support NH lawyers in their practices. Please write to Karrie Fesette, website coordinator.