Labor law updates

“Like getting the important cases handed to you on a silver plate.”

Every week, employment lawyers in the Netherlands receive an email that lists all jurisprudence and features a brief description of the most important cases.
We created a new design for these mails and their accompanying website. Lawyers use this site to search, browse and scrutinize the case recaps created by the editors. And keep up to date with developments in employment law, relevant news and legal annotations from peers.

Boom publishers has different focus area’s and one of them is legal books and magazines. In several legal fields they offer expert case summaries to enable practitioners to keep up to date with jurisprudence.
For employment law, these are the ‘AR-updates’ (in Dutch labor law is ‘arbeidsrecht’). They are sent weekly to all members of the Dutch Association of employment lawyers (VAAN).

Fact-based design

User research provided a clear picture of how employment lawyers use the mail updates and the website. And it points out room for improvements.
The interviews made clear just how valuable and appreciated the content really is. Lawyers described reading the weekly newsletter as a vital part of their working routine.

“Like getting the important cases handed to you on a silver plate.”

The plate needed some improvement. Readability was poor and the many distractions on the website made it rather difficult to focus on the top task: reading the text.

The ‘Brando’ typeface is from a foundry in Den Hague, the hometown of Boom legal publishers. Text that is not written by the editorial team, like metadata and labels, is set in Brando’s younger brother: ‘Brando Sans’.

Typography for professional readers

Jurisprudence has no images. No photographs either. It’s just text. Lawyers scan titles, read the essence of a case and if this proves relevant for them, read all the legal details. Reading speed, scalability and facilitating ‘diagonal reading’ is key to providing a good user experience for the AR-updates.

Type size and line height are optimized for each screen size and form the horizontal grid for the layout. An appropriate line length of 70 characters defines the columns (on larger screens).

A grid for all sizes

We used prototypes to determine for different devices and screen sizes what the optimal font size and line height was for scanning and reading long texts in the Brando typeface.
Both the vertical and horizontal grid is constructed from the typography, providing a solid base for a harmonious layout system where all elements can be positioned naturally.

Layout without distraction

We learned from the user research exactly what goals users have on the different page types. Knowing what users want to achieve enabled us to remove all other objects from the page.

This highly focusses each page and provides a natural flow for the users. For example, above the case we leave out all (usual) metadata and show only the information that is necessary for a lawyer to judge the relevance of this particular case for her practice. All other metadata is displayed beneath the case summary.
Beneath the summary we also show related content and the option to further explore within the same legal subject. And of course the option to enter a search term.

This approach renders a traditional navigation at the top of each page obsolete and facilitates routes based on substance rather than menu’s.

Responsive and scalable

All pages are of course fully responsive and make use of patterns that scale well to both large and small screens. The clarity of the layout and modest graphic style support the text, and result in a website that is straightforward to build and maintain.

Many thanks to Karin den Bouwmeester, Steven Nooy, Sander Onland and Wirt Soetenhorst.

concept + design for Boom